Wahine sweep weekly awards

You don’t encounter this very often at the University of Hawaii, except maybe in the realm of volleyball.

UH swept the Big West’s women’s soccer athlete of the week awards on offense and defense, the conference announced today. Forward Sonest Furtado received the offensive award after compiling two goals and an assist on her team’s 2-0 road trip to Arizona State and Grand Canyon, while goalkeeper Alexis Mata netted the defensive award for her 13 saves in the 1-0 (OT) and 2-1 wins.

In soccer, it is the first time UH swept the offensive and defensive awards in a single week since joining the BWC in 2012.

In the case of Mata, it’s also the first time a Wahine soccer player earned either the offensive or defensive award in consecutive weeks.

Three total OPoW + DPoW awards matches UH’s high for a season, from last year when Addie Steiner got two offensive and Monk Berger a defensive one.

Three is also the most consecutive road wins the Wahine strung together since 2004. It started with a 2-0 win at Idaho State to conclude the previous road trip.

Furtado, the senior from Waianae, scored twice in the second half for the brace against the GCU Lopes on Sunday, including the game-winner in the 85th minute. She also had the pass ahead to Raisa Strom-Okimoto for RSO’s winner against the Sun Devils. Furtado has four goals on the season, matching her output from her freshman year, and 11 career. She needs two more to crack into the UH career top 10.

She had a goal and an assist at ISU, meaning she’s either scored or assisted on the team’s last five goals. That’s good for eight points (three goals, two assists) over the last three contests.

Mata, a junior from Woodland, Calif., has been nearly untouchable since the 4-0 rout at Gonzaga on Sept. 3. She’s given up one goal in the last three games while saving 21 balls over that span. Her 45 season saves ranks second in the Big West.

Her eight saves at Arizona State allowed the Wahine to pounce in the extra period. Her allowed goal late against Grand Canyon was the first in 288 minutes against her.

The Wahine have this week to recharge after returning from their fifth straight road game (not counting the UH alumnae game) and heading back out for the start of Big West play at UC Davis on Sept. 28 and Long Beach State on Oct. 1.

“I think if we just keep up the momentum then we’re going to have a great conference season,” Furtado said in a postgame phone interview Sunday. “Definitely the recovery starts now. Ice baths, do what we need to do to get our bodies feeling better. When we get back to Hawaii, just need to keep on training hard. I think this next week and a half is going to be very crucial. We should practice how we did, prepare for these two games, because whatever we did obviously worked.”

She elaborated, “It’s a different vibe. Everyone’s bought in. Also, coming from us seniors, we actually stepped up and have been showing leadership on the field, and that kind of helps the younger players, too, if they see us working hard and having passion for the game, then they’ll want to match us. I think just working together with that cohesion and everybody wanting in and buying in, I think that’s where we’re successful and I think that’s going to work for us for the rest of the season.”