The sun had already begun to set and it wasn’t like there was a helicopter hovering over UH-Hilo to dry its drenched and muddy soccer field at halftime.
Something, however, did change Wednesday for the Vulcans women, who scored twice in the first five minutes of the second half to beat Notre Dame de Namur 2-0 for their second win of the season and first in the Pacific West Conference.
“I think our desired energy, we increased it a notch,” UHH coach Gene Okamura. “We just wanted to get the ball in the back of the net.
“We traded opportunities in the first half, it was just about finding a way to get the ball in the back of the net.”
Later in the men’s match, Julius Becker scored in the first half, lifting UHH to a 1-0 victory.
The rain let up in the second half of the women’s match, and freshman Nanea Wall took quick advantage, scoring her team-high third goal of the season for the Vuls (2-4-2, 1-1 PacWest).
“Typical Hilo,” Wall, a Konawaena alum, said of a downpour that started about 90 minutes before the game started.We were hungry coming off of the loss.”
Okamura called it a scrappy goal, and it was just the kind it was going to take considering the conditions.
It came from just the player he’d expect it to come from.
“You get her in the box and there is a scrap in there, a cluster, I like my odds with her,” Okamura said.
Less than 90 seconds later, Brenna Rill collected cross from Brende Yoshizumi and touched it into the net for her second goal of the season.
In the 54th minute, the Argonauts (4-4-2, 1-2) earned a penalty kick, but goalkeeper Bailey Cahill dived to her right to block the attempt, making six saves for her third shutout of the season.
UHH finished with 15 shots, seven on goal.
Notre Dame de Namur took 11 shots.
With players slogging and sloshing around the field in the first half and any attempts at dribbling appearing almost pointless, it looked like this one go scoreless deep in the match, putting the Vuls in danger of suffering another disheartening loss.
Wall put that thought to rest.
“I never thought about that,” she said. “Just taking it a minute at a time and try not to get stuck in the mud.”
In the men’s match, Becker’s goal, which deflected off of a defender’s head, was originally scored an own goal.
“In the first half, we were obvious better than them,” Becker said. “A bunch of big chances. In the second half, they put on more pressure, but we got around it.”
The Vuls (2-5-0, 1-1-0) have won two of three.
“We played a very strong defensive game,” Vulcans coach Paul Regrutto said. “We did a great job against corner kicks and in clearing balls out of danger. We played pretty brave, worked hard and had good organization.”
It was sweet redemption for a Vulcans team that fell to the Argonauts (4-6-0, 1-3-0) 8-1 in California last year. UHH improved to 14-2-2 all-time against Notre Dame de Namur.
“I am proud of how hard are guys worked,” Regrutto said. “We have always had troubles with these guys in the past.”