UH soccer limps into offseason

Amanda Bates, Erica Young, Lidia Battaglia and Tiana Fujimoto were honored as outgoing seniors after Thursday's 2-0 loss to UC Irvine.
Amanda Bates, Erica Young, Lidia Battaglia and Tiana Fujimoto were honored as outgoing seniors after Thursday’s 2-0 loss to UC Irvine.

The roughest of rough seasons finally came to an end for the Hawaii soccer team Thursday night.

For just the second time in program history (1997 was the other), UH failed to earn a win or a draw in conference play. The Rainbow Wahine wrapped up the year with a 2-0 loss to UC Irvine on senior night, dropping them to 3-14-1 overall and 0-8 in the Big West.

Adversity was the buzzword of the year. It hit as early as the preason, when coach Michele Nagamine said forward Kiani Halushka was out for the year for personal reasons. Star striker Kama Pascua was essentially suspended prior to conference play after another red card blowup (and likely isn’t coming back for her senior year). Other rotation players like Lidia Battaglia and T.J. Reyno just couldn’t seem to stay healthy, forcing UH go to deeper into the bench and younger on the field than it wanted. There was no clear-cut starting goalkeeper again by the midpoint of conference play as the tattered UH defense gave up a hail of goals.

UH was competitive in some Big West games, and got blown out in others. Ultimately, they couldn’t get it done.

To briefly go over a few of the dubious records that were set or tied:

>> UH’s .194 season winning percentage was a program worst
>> 14 losses tied the program worst
>> The eight-game losing streak to end the year set a new single-season mark

Of course, the Wahine honored their four seniors — Battaglia, Erica Young, Tiana Fujimoto and Amanda Bates — after the final loss. But as Nagamine pointed out, the class should have been much more stocked (as many as 10 were possible). UH had several players — Alex Gerrain, Carly Mottram and Amanda McCaskill, to name a few — defect or get dismissed shortly after Nagamine recruited them a few years ago. That attrition has added up, as UH has been on the younger side in recent years.

Depth played into the woeful record, no go-to finisher emerged on the team, and the Big West was absolutely a tough conference again this year, with more than half of the league in the top 100 of national RPI at one point. It added up.

As Nagamine pointed out several times, the team played hard through its struggles. The results were just tough to swallow when the Wahine came so close to a result against No. 3 Stanford in the season opener, and nearly did so again at Big West power Long Beach State last week.

It sounds like there will be a full crop of recruits in to bolster what should be a strong senior class next year. Storm Kenui had a number of solid outings, despite not finding the net this year, and looked especially strong at center back late in the season. Freshman Sarah Lau showed a lot of promise. Monk Berger should bounce back in goal. Between them and Sonest Furtado, Reyno, Dani Crawford and a few others, there’s some talent on the roster.

The program hasn’t had a winning overall record since 2008. Will 2016 be the year UH puts it together?


  1. SC October 30, 2015 8:25 pm

    Time to part with coach Nagamine. Program going south.

  2. isles October 30, 2015 9:44 pm

    from bad to worse to impossible aint it?

  3. H-Man October 31, 2015 4:09 am

    I don’t follow soccer, but I did watch the match on TV yesterday. They did not seem to have a cohesive offense. Didn’t take shots when I thought they could have, but the opportunities were few. But now I understand after reading the article that there have been some attrition. Lots of it. So it explains why they looked young and inexperienced. Because they are! I think I’ll follow them next season to see how they improve. Was fun to watch.

  4. innocent observer October 31, 2015 9:21 am

    they need to recruit speed, it is sorely lacking on the teams for several years. on defense, they need to double up on the attacker when in the scoring zone since they don’t have quickness and speed to cover one on one. on offense, they need skilled ball handlers with quickness and speed, as oftentimes, their attackers cannot outrun the defenders and create space for passes and shots on goal.

  5. Willie October 31, 2015 1:47 pm

    Tried to post a detailed technical and tactical opinion on challenges observed with the wahine soccer team weeks ago, but it seemed to have been deleted. IMO the team forgot the basics of an organized attack from the back, to the midfield and then to the front line. Breakdown of the field into thirds; defensive, midfield and attacking seemingly not recognized. Too much emphasis of long ball from the back line to the forwards; not enough build up using the midfielders. Rare use of the width of the field, crosses are far and few between. Try to recall the number of passes they have been able to use bringing the ball from the back. The good teams maintain ball possession and link up 5, 6, 7 or more. Wahine soccer hardly exceeds 4 passes in a row. K, that’s enough.

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