Hawaii’s Furtado, Mata sweep BWC Soccer Player of the Week Awards

After leading the Hawai’i soccer team to road wins at Arizona State and Grand Canyon,Sonest Furtado and Alexis Mata were recognized as Big West Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, on Monday.

Furtado, a senior forward from Wai’anae, O’ahu, amassed five points with two goals and an assist during the week. In the 96th minute at Arizona State, Furtado threaded the Sun Devil defense to find a streakingRaisa Strom-Okimoto, who took two touches before firing the golden goal inside the far post.

Two days later, Furtado broke a scoreless tie in the 61st minute at Grand Canyon with a left-footed shot to the right side of the goal. After GCU tied the game, Furtado provided the dramatic game-winner in the 86th minute, firing a shot from about 12 yards out, beating GCU goalkeeper Blakely Fraasch for the second time in the half. It was Furtado’s fourth goal of the season, her second game-winner, and the 11th goal of her career.

Furtado’s 10 points (4g, 2a) and four goals this season each rank second in the Big West Conference. She has played a part in every UH goal during the team’s three-game winning streak, with three goals and two assists in that span.

Mata, a junior from Woodland, Calif., took home Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second consecutive week after posting some eye-popping numbers in Hawai’i’s two wins. Mata came up with 13 saves with a 0.48 goals-against average and 0.929 save percentage with one shutout in 186 minutes of action.

Mata needed a career-high tying eight saves to keep Arizona State off the board in Hawai’i’s overtime win over the Sun Devils. It was her second consecutive shutout victory. Mata stopped five more shots at Grand Canyon in Hawai’i’s 2-1 win. GCU’s 72nd minute goal in that contest ended her sting of 288 consecutive shutout minutes.

Mata’s .804 save percentage and 45 total saves this season each rank second in the Big West Conference.

With two wins during the week, Hawai’i extended its winning streak to three games, all on the road. It’s Hawai’i’s first three-game road winning streak since 2004.

The Rainbow Wahine wrap up their stretch of seven consecutive road games when Big West Conference play begins at UC Davis (Sept. 28) and Long Beach State (Oct. 1).

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