Wahine kick off 2017

Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium will once again host Hawaii soccer games starting this week against two Pac-12 powerhouses. / File photo by Brian McInnis

Utah Valley 21st minute — Chaos in the box and UH whistled for a hand ball before Alexis Mata could save it. Breanna DeWaal takes the corner kick and puts it past Mata. 1-0 Wolverines
Hawaii 35th — Izzy Deutsch comes off the bench and breaks up the right sideline and fires a perfect cross far post, where Raisa Strom-Okimoto goes head-first into it for a beautiful goal.
No scores in the second half.
Hawaii — 99th minute — Kiri Dale crosses a quick pass into the box, and Sarah Lau capitalizes with a deflection off her leg straight in. UH wins its opener, 2-1, for the first time since 2007.

Who’s ready for some soccer?

Hawaii gets a reset from its disappointing close to 2016, in which it posted its first winning season since 2008 (9-6-2) but wilted against some of the best teams in the Big West and missed the conference tournament (2-5-1 Big West, T-sixth) again.

UH gets Utah Valley of the WAC in its season opener at 7 p.m. at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium. It’s looking like the start will be pushed back some because the first game of the OHANA Outrigger Resorts Shootout, Houston Baptist vs. Fairfield, is in overtime as of this writing at 6:30.

UPDATE: Fairfield won the game 2-1 on a Julia McGuire goal in double overtime. It’s looking like UH will kick off about 7:15.

Live stats can be found here.

Senior forward Sonest Furtado will miss the game because she is ineligible for one game for playing in a non-sanctioned game in the offseason. That likely means 6-foot junior Kellsie Gleason shifts into the starting lineup alongside Tia Furuta. UPDATE: Gleason does get the start. Backup defender Bo Samson looks like a scratch also, possibly due to injury.

There’s no question UH will miss the attacking runs of speedy Addie Steiner, who is now plying her trade as a pro in Europe. Look for Raisa Strom-Okimoto to key the offense from the attacking mid position in the 4-4-2 formation. Of last season’s 22 goals, 13 were scored by returnees. Strom-Okimoto had six of those. The others? Furtado had two, Gleason had two, and Furuta, Paige Okazaki and Sarah Lau had one apiece.

In UH’s 3-0 exhibition win over Houston Baptist on Monday, newcomers Kiri Dale and Izzy Deutsch looked like they could be contributors offensively. Defensively, Cristina Drossos and Taylor Mason handled themselves respectably for their first college action. In goal, Alexis (Lex) Mata was a confident presence.

Sophomore defender MyMy Baca was a late preseason loss from the team this week. She’s been granted a release to pursue another team.

The top Wolverines player to look out for is returning All-WAC player Breanna DeWaal, who had four goals and four assists for a team that went 10-8-2 (3-3-1 WAC).