Down 0-2 on the season so far, the University of Hawai’i soccer team headed into its Thursday matchup at the lower campus practice field in search of its first win. For over 90 minutes, it looked like the Rainbow Wahine wouldn’t be adding to the win column just yet. For the second game in a row, the ‘Bows refused to go down in regulation, with the game being decided in extra time. They refused to be denied, however, as sophomore forward Daelenn Tokunaga’s extra time goal finally gave Hawai’i its first win of the year with a 1-0 victory over Nevada.
Unlike Monday’s loss against San Francisco, lack of offense wasn’t to blame for the game being deadlocked at 90 minutes. After getting just 9 shots off against the Dons, the Wahine racked up 18 shots on Thursday against the Wolfpack, 13 of which were on goal.
The Wahine didn’t wait long to start their offensive assault. Just three minutes into the game, sophomore forward Michaela Rentner got a shot off, but she put too much power into her kick as the shot sailed over the top bar. Six minutes later, freshman midfielder Kelci Sumida got knocked another shot towards goal, but her attempt missed as well, bouncing off the left woodwork. Not to miss out on the action, redshirt forward senior Kayla Watanabe, sophomore defender Kayla Ryan, junior midfielder Izzy Deutsch, and sophomore defender Natalie Dixon also chipped in with shot attempts of their own, but Nevada goalkeeper Kendal Stovall refused to budge. All in all, the Wahine took 9 shots in the first 45 minutes, with 5 of those shots on goal.
Hawai’i came out of the gate hot in the second half, getting off 4 shots one goal with another one sailing over the goal. But again and again, Stovall stood strong in front of the goal to maintain the 0-0 deadlock. The defense also looked strong throughout, allowing just 1 Nevada shot in the second half. For the second week in a row, the Wahine headed into extra time.
UH decided to change things up heading into overtime, inserting sophomore forward Daelenn Tokunaga into the game. Tokunaga didn’t wait long to leave her mark on the game. Five minutes into overtime, threaded the needle with a nice pas to Sumida, who responded with a game-winning header into the right side of the net. Senior goalkeeper Alexis Mata finished with her first shutout of the season and her ninth all-time.
"I'm relieved because it's what we needed," head coach Michele Nagamine said. "We needed a win. But I'm frustrated with how we had to get the win; I think we made it a lot harder on ourselves. Credit to Nevada, I thought they were a scrappy team, they made us solves some problems, and their keeper had a fantastic match. In the end, though, we stuck together, and we did what we had to do."
The Rainbow Wahine Soccer Invitational continues for the ‘Bows as they take on Sacramento State at the lower campus practice field on Aug. 31 at 3:30 pm HST.