The University of Hawaii women’s soccer team hit the practice field Wednesday afternoon, starting training camp on lower campus.
Season number seven for head coach Michele Nagamine brings high expectations. The Rainbow Wahine return six starters from last year’s 9-6-2 run, including All-Big West Conference selection Raisa Strom-Okimoto.
“The most exciting part is being out here with everyone. During summer we didn’t have everyone here, but everyone was putting in the work. So just finally being able to be with all the girls again, seeing what everyone has been doing over the summer, hopefully it all paid off, so it’s exciting” Strom-Okamoto told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
As a sophomore, Strom-Okimoto was named a Third-team NSCAA all-West Region selection, First-team CoSIDA Academic all-District VIII honoree, leading the team and tied for 3rd in the Big West Conference with 20 points in 2016. She also scored six goals and dished out eight assists.
The Lady ‘Bows will open their 2017 slate on August 18th against Utah Valley at Waipi’o Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
“I am so excited. It seems like this day was so far away and then it kind of snuck up on us, and it was like Christmas last night. I couldn’t sleep, I was really, really excited. We have a lot of newcomers this year and a core of very, very good returnees. We’re going to be a little young and inexperienced but I think this group will be a very unique group. A group unlike any that we’ve seen yet.” said Nagamine.
UH will look to make its first ever trip to the Big West Tournament. The top four teams in Big West final regular-season standings will advance to the conference tournament. By virtue of winning the 2016 Big West regular-season championship, CSUN will host the 2017 Big West Tournament Nov. 2-5.
“With so much parity in the league, every game and every point that you get is important,” Nagamine said of earning a top-four finish. “You’ve got to steal some, and you’ve got to put them away at home. Even to win four games in the Big West Conference, it really comes down to the last weekend almost every year.”