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College notes: UHH men’s soccer looking to shake off rust

The UH-Hilo men’s soccer team has had a long time to think about two season-opening losses that got away.

Too long, if you ask coach Gene Okamura.

The Vulcans end a 15-day layoff Tuesday when they visit California Collegiate Athletic Association contender Cal State Los Angeles, their final tuneup before opening PacWest play.

“We didn’t need a break quite that long,” Okamura said in a release.of the two-week hiatus. “It just worked out that way. It did give us some time to work on some things. We did some good things during that first weekend, but still had lots to work on.”

After taking on the Golden Eagles (5-1), UH-Hilo opens its league slate Thursday at No. 20 Cal Baptist (4-0-1), the PacWest preseason favorite, before moving on to face Concordia (1-2-1), who was picked to finish second in the conference.

“We now face a pretty difficult challenge with these next four matches,” Okamura said. “For our new players, they will get a taste of PacWest life on the road against some very good teams.”

The Vulcans haven’t taken the pitch since a 2-1 overtime loss to Chaminade on Sept. 4. They opened two days earlier, watching a 1-0 halftime lead against Hawaii Pacific evaporate into a 4-1 loss.

Kudos for UH soccer: For the first time since joining the Big West in 2012, Hawaii swept the conference’s offensive and defensive player of the week awards in women’s soccer Monday.

Senior forward Sonest Furtado earned offensive honors after compiling two goals and an assist on her team’s 2-0 road trip to Arizona State and Grand Canyon, while goalkeeper Alexis Mata netted the defensive award for her 13 combined saves in the 1-0 overtime win at ASU on Friday and the 2-1 decision at GCU on Sunday.

“Start of the game, it was pretty toasty out there,” Furtado told Tribune News Service Sunday of the 90-plus-degree heat in a postgame phone interview. “That kind of affected our first half a little, I’d say. We didn’t really come out as strong as we wanted to. But then we didn’t let the heat affect us. Second half we came to play and we put it away.”

Mata picked up the defensive award for the second straight week, another first for UH (5-4).

Furtado, a Waianae High product, has scored or assisted on the last five goals for the Rainbow Wahine.

Going back to the finale of its previous road trip, UH won three straight on the mainland for the first time since 2004.

The Wahine open Big West play at UC Davis on Sept. 28.

Balanced Wahine: Led by senior middle Emily Maglio’s 11 kills and a career-high 10 from sophomore hitter McKenna Ross on Saturday, Hawaii (6-5) moved above .500 for the first time this season with its fourth consecutive victory, 25-14, 25-12, 25-12 against Northern Arizona in Honolulu

Of the 15 Rainbow Wahine players who go into the match, eight recorded two or more kills.

“I’m happy with the balance – everyone came in and took care of business,” Wahine coach Robyn Ah Mow-Santos told Tribune News Service. “Moving from the first day until now you see the improvement — can use all the players on the bench knowing they can contribute.

“I feel good, having the ability that we can put other people in and they’ll take control.”

Hawaii also threw some wrinkles into its offense heading into Friday’s Big West opener with UC Irvine (12-1). The goal has been to have Maglio become a six-rotation player, where she serves as well as attacks from behind the 3-meter line.

UH-Hilo cross-country on upswing: Anna Baker-Mickelsen finished fourth Saturday and UH-Hilo had three runners in the top ten at the three-team Chaminade Invitational on Saturday at Kapiolani Park in Honolulu.

Baker-Mickelsen finished in 20 minutes, 56 second over the five-kilometer course. Meghan Langbehn was UHH’s next runner in eighth place at 21:41, followed closely by Beatriz Duarte in ninth (21:47). Lizette Garcia was 12th (23:34) and Reyna Garcia Lopez was 15th (24:46) in her first race of the season.

“We are getting better each week,” coach Jaime Guerpo said in a release. “I am pleased with how each one of them performed.”


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