Hawaii soccer earns first result against Cal State Fullerton

Hawaii's Kayla Ryan, seen here against UC Irvine last week, notched her team-best fourth goal of the season in a 1-1 draw at Cal State Fullerton on Sunday. / Photo by Andrew Lee, Special to the Star-Advertiser

Sometimes, a draw feels like either a win or a loss, not something in between.

Hawaii’s 1-1 tie with Cal State Fullerton at the Titans’ field Sunday most definitely was a win for the Rainbow Wahine.

Thanks to Kayla Ryan’s goal to begin the second half — off of assists from Kayla Watanabe and Kelci Sumida to work the ball ahead, then to the middle — UH squared the match and held on tight through double overtime for their first result against Fullerton in eight years of Big West meetings.

UPDATE: Here’s coach Michele Nagamine after the match.

“Although we obviously would’ve preferred a win, I will definitely take the tie. Anytime you can go on the road and grab a point or 4, that is a really good thing,” said Nagamine, referring to the three points UH picked up at UC Riverside on Friday. “We have struggled to play at Fullerton in the past but tonight we were able to put together a pretty good performance against one of the most offensive teams in our conference. It’s a little bittersweet because we definitely had our chances to win but then again so did they!”

Fullerton has been that nemesis, year in and year out, winning all seven times the teams met as conference foes. That was crystallized no clearer than last year, when the last-place Titans spoiled UH’s senior night and prevented the Wahine from making their first Big West tournament, ending their season at 4-4-1 in conference — their best to date, but still not good enough.

Well, UH (5-6-2, 3-0-1 Big West) is in fantastic shape with four matches played and four still to play. They host two in the coming week, Cal Poly (4-9-2, 1-2-1) on Thursday and UC Santa Barbara (6-4-4, 2-1-1) on Sunday.

UH has 10 points in the standings, second only to the 11 of Fullerton (10-2-3, 3-0-2), which has played an additional match so far. It will probably take at least 14 points to make the four-team tournament. Teams get three for a win and one for a draw.

While Fullerton had more chances Sunday — including some it wishes it had back — UH actually came close to winning outright itself on a couple of occasions in the second overtime. The Titans’ keeper was just barely able to snuff those chances out.

Ryan’s goal was her team-best fourth of the season. Goalkeeper Lex Mata recorded seven saves, giving her a BWC-leading 76 on the season.

Through Nov. 14

Cal State Fullerton5-0-31814-3-4.762
Cal State Northridge5-3-01512-7-3.614
UC Santa Barbara4-1-3158-5-6.579
Cal Poly3-3-2116-10-3.395
UC Irvine3-3-2114-12-2.278
Long Beach State2-5-174-12-1.265
UC Davis2-6-067-11-0.389
UC Riverside1-7-033-14-1.194