Hawaii soccer: Wahine take crack at Pac-12 breakthrough at Waipio

USC's Penelope Hocking and Hawaii's Cristina Drossos sought the ball in the teams' season opener on Aug. 22, won 3-0 by the Trojans at the UH Lower Campus field. This week, UH gets two more chances for its first home win against a Pac-12 team in more than 20 years. / Photo by Dennis Oda, Star-Advertiser

A return to action at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium means a renewed chance at a Pac-12 breakthrough at home for Hawaii.

The Rainbow Wahine host two potent Pac-12 foes this week in the first UH matches at Waipio since the field was damaged over the summer due to chemical runoff. UH (2-4-1) faces No. 24 Washington State (5-1) at 7 p.m. today and No. 5 UCLA (5-1) at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Pac-12 has been a semi-regular, and often brutal measuring stick for the Wahine over the years. The Power Five league is one of the national standard-bearer leagues in the sport, along with the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“Obviously it’s two very big games, and going into conference after that, it’s a good test,” sophomore holding midfielder Morgan Meza said. “So I think we’re ready.”

A word of warning: UH is 1-17-1 against Pac-12 teams at home all-time. Its only such win was back in 1998, the fifth year of the program when the Rainbow Wahine beat Oregon 2-1 at Ala Wai Field — before WPSS was even built.

Since then they’ve gone 0-16-1 in such games (0-13-1 at WPSS), with the draw coming against the last Pac-12 opponent they saw at Waipio — Oregon to open 2016. UH opened this season against ranked USC (the Trojans are now up to No. 2) at the UH Lower Campus field and lost 3-0.

Many of those visiting teams have been among the more dangerous the Pac-12 has to offer. Of the 19 Pac-12 opponents to play at Hawaii to date, 10 were ranked at the time. National powerhouses UCLA and Stanford have been relative regulars.

Such is the case this week. Could the Cougars or Bruins represent UH’s first win over a Pac-12 foe at Waipio? That’s why they play the game, right? But WSU and UCLA are 6-0 apiece all-time against the Wahine.

“Definitely our preseason we knew was going to be tough, and that long road trip (to North and South Dakota) was different. But I think it’s been good for us,” Meza said. “But I think it was good to get ready, just having those tests was really good to just get ready for conference, because that’s what we’re here for.”

A few more notes:

>> UH has fared far better against Pac-12 squads on the mainland, winning at USC (1994, 2004), Oregon (2013), Oregon State (2013), and Arizona State (2017).

>> Under ninth-year coach Michele Nagamine, UH is 3-11-1 against Pac-12 opponents.

>> UH was to host Arizona State last year but that match was canceled due to the threat of Hurricane Lane.

Here’s the breakdown of meetings in Hawaii between the various Pac-12 opponents. If the opponent was ranked, or if the site was not WPSS, it will be designated next to the result.

Arizona 0-0
No home meetings

Arizona State 0-2
>> 0-4 L in 2003 (No. 9)
>> 2-5 L in 2014

California 0-2
>> 0-3 L in 2011
>> 1-5 L in 2015 (No. 18)

Colorado 0-0
No home meetings

Oregon 1-0-1
>> 2-1 W in 1998 (Ala Wai Field)
>> 1-1 D in 2016

Oregon State 0-1
>> 1-2 L in 2000

Stanford 0-4
>> 0-1 L in 1996 (No. 5, Ala Wai Field)
>> 1-3 L in 1999 (No. 18, UH Lower Campus)
>> 2-6 L in 2009 (No. 2)
>> 1-2 L in 2015 (No. 3)

UCLA 0-3
>> 1-4 L in 1998 (No. 17, Ala Wai Field)
>> 0-2 L in 2002 (No. 5)
>> 0-6 L in 2014 (No. 1)

USC 0-1
>> 0-3 L in 2019 (No. 5, UH Lower Campus)

Utah 0-0
No home meetings as Pac-12

Washington 0-1
>> 0-1 L in 2006

Washington State 0-3
>> 0-3 L in 2010
>> 1-3 L in 2011
>> 1-3 L in 2014