Soccer Wahine hit the road

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Final: Idaho 1, Hawaii 0 — Rainbow Wahine get blanked for a third straight game as the Vandals outshoot them 20-7, including 14-2 in the first half. The hosts’ breakthrough game in the 75th minute on a header goal by Olivia Baggerly off a corner kick.

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Maybe a change of scenery will jump-start the Hawaii soccer team’s offense.

The Rainbow Wahine were shut out in both their games in the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Soccer Classic last Thursday and Monday, to Pacific and Seattle. They had a number of chances to score in both games but were frustratingly unable to put one away.

The last time UH was blanked in consecutive nonconference home nonconference games was to open 2013, when they lost 1-0 to UNC Greensboro and 2-0 to No. 21 Central Florida.

“In both games I thought we had great possession,” UH coach Michele Nagamine said. “Now it’s a matter of, we always tell the kids, possession with a purpose. That’s to go forward. We struggled in the final third. That’s nothing new for us. It’s the hardest part of the game to get down. But for such a young team, getting some fresh faces (out there), lots of them minutes, it’s a little frustrating but I know our future is very bright.

“I told the team, ‘Let’s not be drama queens. You’re 2-2 with a lot of brand-new faces.’ Let’s keep everything in perspective.”

UH has already departed for Moscow, Idaho, the site of Friday’s (3 p.m. HST) opener of a three-game road trip; the Wahine got in late Wednesday night. The Vandals, who play inside the Kibbie Dome, are 1-2-1, including two games against Big West teams: a win at UC Riverside and a loss at UC Santa Barbara.

The indoor dome setting on turf will be a new one for the Wahine, while the Vandals — whom UH beat 2-0 at WPSS last year — are expected to play aggressively.

“That’s going to require some adjustment on our part just because of the surface and the environment,” Nagamine said.

Note: Sophomore Lillie French no longer has a twin sister on the Vandals’ roster. Sophia French now plays at Cal State Fullerton, which hosts Hawaii on Oct. 26.

After Friday, UH follows at Gonzaga (3-0-1) on Sunday and Idaho State (1-2) on Tuesday. Getting through three games in six days in three different — albeit reasonably close — locales should be a challenge for a team that relies on several first-year players.

Gonzaga is unbeaten home or away while ISU plays on what Nagamine described as a “narrow, thick, kind of sunken field.”

Add those obstacles to the collection. Nagamine blasted her team for selfish play in the wake of the loss to Seattle.

Attacking midfielder Raisa Strom-Okimoto said after that one, “It was discipline. Getting the balls we need to into the net. We possessed the majority of the game. I think we dominated. We just didn’t put away our opportunities. They got two lucky ones.”

There was increased emphasis on on-field communication before UH departed, especially between the midfielders and the forwards.

“We did a lot of movement off the ball, a lot of tactical work going into a three-game road trip,” holding midfielder Keala Parker-Lee said. “That’s important to get all the little things and details put together. We’re excited and look forward to hopefully getting a few W’s.”

On the positive side, UH’s defense was back to its normal group with the return of freshman center back Cristina Drossos from a knee sprain vs. Fairfield. Drossos, who took the spot vacated by the departed Storm Kenui in the preseason, ended up missing only the Pacific game.

“It was definitely a scare,” Drossos said. “It was just a bump in the road, though, and coming back from it I feel strong. It’s not hurting, so that’s a good sign. I’m still going hard into every tackle, not taking it easy. It’s going good.”

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