UH-Hilo women’s soccer coach Gene Okamura didn’t fret for the 69 or so minutes his team protected a one-goal lead.
Not with the way his team defends.
That the Vulcans put home a second goal, he thinks, could prove to be a seasonal turning point.
UHH shut out the opposition for the fourth time in five games Saturday, and there would be no scoreless draw this time. Its efforts paid off in a 2-0 victory against Fresno Pacific at the campus baseball field.
“I thing we always create a bunch of opportunities every match,” Okamura said, “and I think our forwards are getting more comfortable with each other and getting more confident.
“I think things are going to start to flow a little better.”
The Vulcans (3-4-3, 2-1 Pacific West Conference) had just a win and two draws to show for their past four matches despite allowing only one goal during that stretch.
They received early offense against the Sunbirds (1-8-2, 1-2-2) when Brenna Rill scored her third goal of the season – which is tied for the team lead – in the fourth minute.
“It’s nice to be able to protect it a lead and manage the game,” Okamura said.
UHH cashed in on a corner kick in the 73rd minute. Crystal Sanchez sent a pass from the left side of the field over everyone to a waiting Camille Strazzo, who took the pass and headed it into the goal from the right side.
Sanchez garnered assists on both goals.
She and Christina Kanellou moved back to midfield, a move that helped ignite the attack.
“They’ve been playing very well creating opportunities,” Okamura said.
• Fresno Pacific men 4, UHH 3, OT
Felipe Souza scored on a set piece near the end of the first overtime in a match was played under protest by UHH (2-7, 1-3 Pacific West Conference), which said the Sunbirds were using an ineligible player.
Jose Vargas got the Sunbirds (4-7-1, 2-2-1) on the board first at 16:17 with a goal, but the Vulcans countered quickly with a score by Robert George at 22:16. The match was tied 1-1 at the half, with more fireworks to come.
Andrew Rehedul gave UHH the lead (2-1) just under four minutes into the second half, but the Sunbirds tied it (2-2) on James Hernandez’s equalizer. Fresno Pacific then scored what looked like would be the game winner with just 12 minutes left on the clock (Matheus Henrique), but the Vulcans answered at 77:53 on Kadon Black’s score, off the pass from Israel Kalili.