The University of Hawaii women’s soccer team announced its 2015 schedule, highlighted by a season-opening matchup against 2014 NCAA Final Four participant Stanford. In all, the ‘Bows will play three teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last season.
“I am very happy with our schedule for 2015,” said head coach Michele Nagamine who enters her fifth season at the helm of the Rainbow Wahine. “Our local soccer fans love watching top-ranked programs play in Hawai’i and this year’s schedule will not disappoint them. We open with perennial soccer powers Stanford and Cal and then have Wyoming and Denver the following weekend. It is a luxury for us to be home the first two weekends so that we can hopefully establish a rhythm that will carry us through some tough road trips.”
In total, Hawaii will play 18 matches including 10 at the friendly confines of Waipio Peninsula Stadium where UH ranked 16th nationally in attendance last season (1,278). UH set a new program single-game attendance record last season when 4,366 fans poured into the stadium to watch the ‘Bows face defending national champion UCLA.
The ‘Bows play their season opener against the Cardinal on Friday, Aug. 21 then face California two days later as part of the Outrigger Resorts Soccer Classic. The Golden Bears complete a challenging opening weekend for the ‘Bows having advanced to the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament.
The ‘Bows then host the OHANA Hotels and Resorts No Ka Oi (Aug, 27, 29 & 31), a three-team tournament that includes Wyoming and Denver. Wyoming finished second in the Mountain West Conference last season and Denver was just a few spot kicks away from an NCAA Tournament bid after losing on penalties in last year’s Summit League Tournament final.
The ‘Bows then embark on their first road trip, traveling to Portland State (Sept. 4) and San Francisco (Sept. 6) before returning home to face Cal State Bakersfield (Sept. 12). UH takes to the road one more time before starting Big West Conference play, traveling to the Silver State to play UNLV (Sept. 18) and Nevada (Sept. 20).
The Rainbow Wahine tune up for league play hosting interstate rival BYU-Hawaii on Thursday, Sept. 24 and then play their annual Alumnae match on Sunday, Sept. 27. They begin Big West play at home against UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, Oct. 1. Other home matches are Cal Poly (Oct. 4), CSUN (Oct. 18), and UC Irvine (Oct. 29) for their regular-season finale.
The Big West Tournament will be held November 5 and 8 in Fullerton, Calif., with the top four finishers in the regular-season standings qualifying.
The Rainbow Wahine return 17 players from a 2014 squad that includes NSCAA all-region selection Storm Kenui as well as all-conference performers Lidia Battaglia, Kama Pascua, and Sonest Furtado. The team will also be boosted by the arrival of nine newcomers. “Although our team will be young again with only two senior starters,” added Nagamine, “our players worked extremely hard this spring and set a new standard of excellence for our team.