The Hawaii soccer team gets a test beyond its immediate opponent today on the Waipio Stadium pitch.
UH (4-0-1) is riding a four-game winning streak, its longest since 2007, and is off to its best start since that same season. All the games have taken place at home so far, with the six-game homestand capped off in this Outrigger Soccer Classic against Saint Mary’s (0-4).
But UH has yet to play an opponent on consecutive days this season, a considerable challenge in a sport like soccer that requires running long distances over time. That back-to-back challenge — one all coaches try to avoid — came about as a result of a team pulling out of this tournament in the offseason due to a coaching change. UH did what it had to to accommodate the other two teams, Idaho and Saint Mary’s, to keep them from pulling out as well. The Vandals and Gaels are scheduled to play on Sunday, weather permitting.
The Rainbow Wahine subbed some Thursday in their 2-0 win over Idaho, but basically went all out to secure the outcome.
“I’m pretty confident … because during preseason we prepared for this,” sophomore Raisa Strom-Okimoto said after that game. “During camp we did double days. Our coaches always told us that this weekend is the one they prepared us for. So it’s not like a surprise going into this weekend. Pretty excited to play tomorrow.”
Strom-Okimoto has emerged as the team’s leading scorer and assister, with three apiece. No other player has more than one in either category.
Saint Mary’s has played all Big West opposition thus far; this is their fifth against UH’s league. If the Wahine can keep pace with their BWC counterparts, they’ll be flying high going into their three-game road swing through the state of Colorado next week.
“I think our legs are going to be tired,” UH coach Michele Nagamine said. “Idaho was a very physical opponent and they definitely made us work. We’ve got a lot of starters that got a lot of minutes, but this is what we’ve been prepping for since the summertime.”