Wahine look to extend road success

Sarah Lau dribbled past Natalie Daub at practice. / Photo by Craig T. Kojima, Star-Advertiser

Leialoha Medeiros, a Maui native, wasn’t too worried about Tropical Storm Olivia earlier this week.

The Hawaii soccer team had plenty of its own concerns heading into its last nonconference road trip of the season. The Rainbow Wahine are coming off a home loss to Division II powerhouse UC San Diego (but a Division II team nonetheless).

“Living in Hawaii my whole life, hurricanes … tsunamis, it’s always been a normal thing for us,” said Medeiros, whose family lives in Wailuku. “I think they’ll be fine. I’ll keep in contact with them throughout the trip and they’ll call me if anything. I think they’ll be OK.”

The Wahine take on Nevada on Thursday and San Francisco on Sunday at two artificial turf venues. You can watch the Nevada game (3:30 p.m. HST) from Mackay Stadium here.

UH (3-2), while still in possession of a respectable nonconference record — thanks in large part due to going 2-0 on its previous trip — received an ego check from the future Big West opponent Tritons. Not coming ready to play against the No. 2 team in D-II resulted in two quick goals allowed. It was the program’s only loss to a non-Division I team besides then-Division III UCSD’s 3-0 win in San Diego in 1997.

“It hurt us deep because it was a very rough game and we gave it to them in the first half. We gave them both their goals,” sophomore defender Taylor Mason said. “It was more on us than them just being better, because at the end of the day we’re the better team but we didn’t show up that day and they did, so they capitalized. We deserved it. We can’t show up and play 45 minutes; we have to play all 90. I think it was good for us. It taught us a lot.”

Speaking of storms, Mason, the program’s first recruit from Georgia, said her family is thankfully not in the path of Hurricane Florence, which is projected to make landfall in North Carolina, but that she is is praying for those who are.

UH coach Michele Nagamine doesn’t want to use youth as a lasting excuse for her team. At the same time, she said she could’ve given her players more feedback on being level-headed going into the UCSD game (and has since).

“Nevada is having a season that is probably a little bit like ours,” Nagamine said prior to her team’s Tuesday departure for Reno, Nev. “They’ve experienced some success, they’ve also had some opportunities to reflect through some games that I think they wish they could get back. I think our identities are very similar. USF as well. They’ve won, they lost. I think everybody knows that winning feels better, but it’s a matter of how we’re going to be consistent and put everything together. These next two opponents are huge for us, because they’re very similar to where we are as a program.”

UH swept its only other nonconference road trip to Saint Mary’s and Pacific. The Wahine were admittedly coasting a bit coming off it going into the UCSD game.

“It came down to us getting three wins in a row, and that kind of got to our heads and transferred onto the field in our warmup and the first half of the game,” said Medeiros, who has two goals so far in her sophomore season. “It’s disappointing that it took us a whole half to wake up and come back in the second half. But UCSD, they worked harder than us, they wanted it more than us, so that’s why we got that loss. It was kind of hard to swallow, but I’m glad we got it out of the way … before conference, because that’s what we’re ultimately focusing on.”

Nevada is 3-2-1 (with a 1-0 loss at Saint Mary’s and a 2-1 win at UC Davis) and San Francisco is 5-3 (with a 5-1 loss to No. 1 Stanford, a 3-0 loss to No. 21 Oklahoma State, and a 2-0 win over UC Santa Barbara).

UH is 9-8 all-time against Nevada (including 3-7 in Reno) and 2-7-3 against San Francisco (including 0-5-1 at USF).

The Wahine will still be without starting midfielder Izzy Deutsch, who was absent for the UCSD game without an attributed reason from UH. UPDATE: Deutsch remains out for medical reasons, per UH.

Raisa Strom-Okimoto leads UH with three goals scored and 13 for her career.