Hawaii soccer: UH loses Big West first-teamer Lei Medeiros

Leialoha Medeiros (shooting), an All-Big West first teamer in 2018, has left the UH soccer team for personal reasons. / Star-Advertiser file photo by Craig T. Kojima

The Hawaii fall soccer roster went up with a notable absence.

It was Leialoha Medeiros, the All-Big West first-team midfielder from Makawao, Maui, who would’ve been a junior and the team’s primary go-to option in 2019. Coach Michele Nagamine told Hawaii Warrior World that Medeiros left the team in the offseason due to personal reasons.

“We wish Lei all the best,” Nagamine said Saturday. “Sometimes life gets in the way of soccer, and it’s always about the student-athletes’ well-being and their interest at heart. While we will miss her, I think she has to spend some time with her family and focus on her personal issues that she wants to address. So we wish her all the best and we support her 100%.”

UH opens fall practices Aug. 6. The season opener is Aug. 22 against USC at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.

The athletic, tough-to-predict Kamehameha-Maui alumna Medeiros, who turned heads upon her arrival in Manoa in 2017 with her proclivity for going for bicycle kicks, helped get the Rainbow Wahine to the cusp of Big West tournament qualification in 2018 (9-7-1, 4-4 BWC). Medeiros compiled seven goals and four assists as a sophomore. Her 18 points were second behind Big West offensive player of the year Raisa Strom-Okimoto’s 27. Medeiros had three game-winners.

She is one of only five Wahine players to date (Strom-Okimoto twice, Tiana Fujimoto, Addie Steiner, Sonest Furtado) to receive BWC first-team honors since UH joined the league in the sport in 2012.

UH’s third-leading scorer last season, Sarah Lau, graduated along with Strom-Okimoto. Senior Mikaelah Johnson-Griggs and sophomore Daelenn Tokunaga are now UH’s returning goal scorers, with two apiece last season.

Nagamine voiced confidence in her 30-player roster, which includes 20 players who are either freshmen or sophomores.

“They’ve taken their summer preparation seriously,” she said. “I’m really excited to start up camp, because the word I’m using for everybody is opportunity. When you lose two such high-caliber players like Strom-Okimoto and Medeiros, there are holes to fill in the lineup.

“We have 30 players on the roster who are all motivated and ready and willing to do whatever it takes to get us into the Big West tournament.”


UH bolstered its complement of local players with the summer additions of Taylor Caporus, a freshman out of Roosevelt, and Kayla Watanabe, a Mid-Pacific alumna who is a graduate transfer from Idaho and will be a fifth-year senior. Watanabe has nine career goals and helped the Vandals win the Big Sky twice.

They, along with incoming freshman Kelci Sumida out of Moanalua, raise UH’s local count to five (Tia Furuta and Tokunaga are the returning two).

The Wahine also recently added Arizona transfer Michaela Rentner, who arrives as a sophomore.

Here’s the updated 2019 roster.

1Alexis MataGK5-7R-Sr.Woodland, Calif.Pioneer HS
2Cristina DrossosD/F5-9Jr.El Dorado Hills, Calif.Oak Ridge HS
3Taylor CaporusMF/D5-4Fr.HonoluluRoosevelt HS
4Natalie DixonD5-7So.Murrieta, Calif.Vista Murrieta HS
5V JimenezD5-4Fr.Chandler, Ariz.Perry HS
6Madison MooreMF/D5-7R-Sr.Kalaheo, KauaiLong Beach State
7Natalie DaubD5-6So.Redmond, Wash.Redmond HS
8Elena PalaciosD5-10So.Mountain View, Calif.Mountain View HS
9McKenzie MooreMF/F5-7So.Corona, Calif.Santiago HS
10Daelenn TokunagaF5-7So.WaipahuPearl City HS
11Lauren MarquezGK5-6So.Glendale, Ariz.Deer Valley HS
12Taylor MasonD5-1Jr.Johns Creek, Ga.Greater Atlanta Christian
13Kiri DaleD/MF/F5-7R-Sr.Mullumbimby, New South Wales, AustraliaIona College
14Kayla RyanD5-5So.San Jose, Calif.Valley Christian HS
15Izzy DeutschMF5-6Jr.PhoenixDesert Vista HS
16Morgan MezaD/MF5-5So.Los Alamitos, Calif.Los Alamitos HS
17Mikaelah Johnson-GriggsMF/F5-8Sr.Beaverton, Ore.Oregon Episcopal
18Grace PekovichD/MF5-10Fr.Meridian, IdahoCentennial HS
19Sadie LutzD5-3Jr.Moorpark, Calif.Moorpark HS
20Batya BagullyMF/F5-5Fr.San Marcos, Calif.San Marcos HS
21Claire Jo DiedeF5-8So.Everett, Wash.Kings HS
22Malia FaramarziD/MF5-6Fr.Encinitas, Calif.San Dieguito Academy
23Michaela RentnerF5-4So.Temecula, Calif.Arizona
24Kylie McNamaraMF5-3Fr.Union City, Calif.James Logan HS
25Emily CottrellD5-6Fr.Castle Pines, Colo.Rock Canyon HS
26Tia FurutaF5-5R-Jr.MililaniMililani HS
27Eliza AmmendoliaMF5-2Fr.Griffith, New South Wales, AustraliaHill Sport HS
28Loren HouseD5-7Fr.Decatur, Ga.Saint Pius X Catholic HS
30Kelci SumidaMF5-5Fr.HonoluluMoanalua HS
32Kayla WatanabeF5-4R-Sr.HonoluluIdaho
Assistant coach: Marc Fournier
Assistant coach: Rachael Doyle
Head coach: Michele Nagamine
Volunteer assistant coach: Stephen Whitehouse