A second-half lineup adjustment proved to be the difference-maker for the Hawai‘i women’s soccer team in a thrilling double-overtime victory over Sacramento State Thursday night in the Outrigger Soccer Classic Series.
Hawai‘i coach Michele Nagamine moved senior Storm Kenui from the back line – where she had played every minute of the young 2016 season – to the midfield during the second half. It was Kenui who later fired a rocket from outside the box that beat Sacramento State goalkeeper Destiny Butcher to give the Rainbow Wahine a 2-1 double-overtime victory.
“I really wanted to see what she could do in the mid-field,” Nagamine said. “I needed a little bit of a presence and she has that kind of hulk presence. She has great size, she’s a leader and everybody looks to her to set the pace for us. I told her I needed a presence in the mid-field and I thought she delivered just that.”
The Rainbow Wahine (2-0-1) set the tone early in the game, but were unable to capitalize. UH tallied four shots-on-goal, a corner kick, and a penalty kick within the first ten minutes, but came away empty handed. The Hornets (1-2-0) were able to recover to battle to a scoreless tie at halftime.
“I actually think that we out-paced ourselves,” Nagamine said of her team’s frantic start. “We came out of the gate a little bit too fast and at halftime we talked to them about sustainability. We need to play at a pace that we can sustain over time.”
Sarah Lau gave Hawai‘i the lead just under five minutes into the second half, heading in a cross from Addie Steiner in front of the goal. The Hawai‘i lead lasted less than nine minutes, however, as Sacramento State’s Andrea Boehm scored the equalizer in the 58th minute.
Both teams had chances in down the stretch of regulation. Hawai‘i finished with 24 total shots, and 16 shots on goal, while Sacramento State had 20 shots, and six on goal. Butcher finished with 14 saves for the Hornets while Hawai‘i goalkeeper Monk Berger had five. Hawai‘i held a 7-6 advantage in corner kicks.
The Rainbow Wahine wrap up the second part of the Outrigger Soccer Classic Series on Saturday (Aug. 27) against Idaho State at 7:00 p.m. at Waipi‘o Peninsula Soccer Stadium.