Wahine, Oregon battle to a draw
It felt like a win, and that was plenty enough for this team on this night.
The Hawaii Rainbow Wahine battled Oregon evenly for 110 minutes in its 2016 opener Friday, a statement worthy of some celebration.
The 1-1 double-overtime draw at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium snapped the program’s eight-game losing streak going back to last season, when UH finished 3-14-1 and winless in the Big West.
“Tonight I will take it,” sixth-year coach Michele Nagamine said. “I’m not a moral victory type of person, but tonight I’m going to take it because I thought that my team showed a lot of character and a lot of guts.”
UH set out to snap its sixgame losing streak in openers, and did, but not quite the way it was hoping.
Several attempts just missed in overtime for UH, which trotted out several newcomers. That included Northwestern transfer Addie Steiner, who had a sliding attempt at the second-overtime horn go inches wide of the post.
“I knew I didn’t have time for a second touch. I tried to get it off as fast as I could … it was a bummer,” Steiner said. “(The opener) was better than I expected. I think we worked very hard and our energy level was very high. The bench kept us going.”
The Rainbow Wahine will try to notch their first victory since last Sept. 24 at 4 p.m. Sunday against Nevada (0-1) to conclude the first of three Outrigger Soccer Series. Nevada lost 1-0 to Gonzaga earlier Friday.
The Waipio field was in pristine condition for Day 1 of the tourney and Oregon, sporting banana-smoothie-esque yellow uniforms, wasted little time trying to avenge its 2013 1-0 loss to the Wahine in Eugene. Kyra Fawcett put one past goalkeeper Monk Berger at close range in the third minute.
The Wahine struck back in the 17th minute, as junior Sonest Furtado broke away and slid one around freshman keeper Katelyn Carter unassisted. It was her sixth career score and second straight in a season opener.
“I’m glad we didn’t let down,” Furtado said. “To be honest, I didn’t see that goal coming. The adrenaline was going, and as soon as I scored I knew we were back in the game.”
But Oregon, 6-13 a year ago and picked to finish last in the Pac-12, had the run of play in the second half and a 22-9 advantage in shots going into OT. Berger kept UH in it with a career-high nine saves.
Raisa Strom-Okimoto had two great blasts from long range, one just before halftime and one with 15 minutes to play. But they were both saved by Carter.
Strom-Okimoto had another deep launch deflect off the keeper’s hands and the crossbar in the second OT as the crowd groaned.
The Wahine had tantalizing shots for the win by Bo Samson and Paige Okazaki in the first overtime, both blocked.
The 2016 state player of the year out of Mililani, Tia Furuta, came in off the bench. So did Samson, a recent pickup from Northeastern and a Sacred Hearts Academy graduate.
‘Iolani alum Taylor Kuroda came in as a reserve for the Ducks. The sophomore played 19 minutes.