There’s painful losses, and then there’s what happened to the Hawaii soccer team on Friday night.
Goalkeeper Lex Mata was seemingly everywhere in the box for the Rainbow Wahine for 99.9 percent of a match that went to the tail — make that final hair on the end of the tail — end of double overtime in Irvine on Friday night. The fourth-year junior had some incredible stops, including a couple punch-outs at the goal line and another stop of a rocket shot from inside the box. She was all the rage of the ESPN 3 broadcast team.
Then disaster struck.
As the 10-second countdown commenced, the Anteaters got a throw-in near the UH box, and Reema Bzeih fired a bouncer under the Wahine defense and around Mata to the far post — incredibly, with one second left before the match would’ve ended in a 0-0 draw. It is literally not possible to lose a college soccer match any later on the clock than what happened Friday.
Here it is. Gotta feel for the Wahine players and staff on this one.
— Steve Chen (@BigWestMD) September 29, 2018
Adding to the frustration, it would’ve been UH’s first non-loss in a Big West opener since joining the league in 2012. Instead, it fell to 0-7 in such games. UH is now 2-21-3 in BWC road games.
It shouldn’t take anything away from Mata, who was stellar in keeping UH (5-4-1 overall) in it despite a 24-4 shots advantage by UCI (5-5-1), saving eight shots in coming within a heartbeat of a third straight shutout.
Coach Michele Nagamine could not be immediately reached for comment via phone afterward.
The Wahine continue their road trip at Cal State Northridge at 2 p.m. on Sunday.