It’s not often the Hawaii soccer team gets a full fall game in against collegiate competition as a prelude to the real deal.
UH, which was picked to finish last in the Big West on Thursday, is trying to use every edge it can get.
The Rainbow Wahine take on Division II Tusculum of Tennessee tonight (7 p.m. at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium) in a tune-up to next Friday’s regular-season opener against Oregon. The Pioneers lost to BYU-Hawaii 3-0 on Thursday up in Laie.
“I think the kids are pumped up. I think the kids are looking forward to playing someone else and showing what they can do,” sixth-year coach Michele Nagamine said this week.
UH plans to come out in a 4-4-2 formation against Tusculum.
Familiar faces expected in the lineup today include Sonest Furtado up top, Storm Kenui at center back and Monk Berger in goal. Raisa Strom-Okimoto has earned the role of attacking mid.
The Wahine have done plenty of team bonding activities in the preseason, including a boot camp on Thursday.
“I’ve learned that we all work together better and are way more prepared than previous years,” Kenui said.
Here’s a possible starting lineup today:
Forwards: Kellsie Gleason, Sonest Furtado
Midfielders: Lauren Takai OR Lillie French, Mikaela Johnson-Griggs, Raisa Strom-Okimoto, Madison Reed OR T.J. Reyno
Defenders: Sarah Lau OR Ryan Daniel, Storm Kenui, Paige Okazaki, Dani Crawford
Goalkeeper: Monk Berger OR Alexis Mata
Nagamine noted a few players, including Northwestern transfer Addie Steiner, are not available for today’s game.
“I’m really, really looking forward to seeing how all the pieces are going to come together … I think their fitness level is much better,” Nagamine said. “It’s the most fit the team has ever reported.”
Here’s a link to the Big West’s posting of the poll and the BWC preseason all-conference team, on which UH did not get any recognition.