UHH women return home with ‘remarkable’ feat, Tokunaga’s league honor

Now that’s a road trip that Lindsey Poulsen would have appreciated.

With Poulsen’s parents looking on, UH-Hilo’s women’s soccer team recorded its third clean sheet and scored three more goals Sunday against Dominican for a four-match sweep through Northern California

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“I think we had a little extra motivation to perform,” coach Gene Okamura said of the attendance of Jill and Tom Poulsen in San Rafael. “Today, we executed the best we have all season.”

Lindsey Poulsen was a two-time all-PacWest performer for the Vuls, but she contracted ovarian cancer and died at the age of 26 in 2018 — but not before serving as an inspiration for many at the school.

The Poulsens got a glimpse of striker Daelenn Tokunaga, who has been inspired all season and earned PacWest player of the week honors Monday.

Improving to 7-1 away from home, UHH matched the road win total that Poulsen’s Vuls reached in 2013 in finishing 10-4-2 overall. The program has only recorded double-digits win once since, in 2018 (also 10-4-2).

“This team is ultra motivated and hungry for more,” Okamura said.

After feasting on vulnerable competition — the four wins came against teams that have combined for just four wins, and two were winless — the Vuls (7-3, 4-1 PacWest) catch their breath before digging in at home next week for the stretch run. Of the final five foes, three were picked to finish above UHH, including two-time champion Point Loma, which is riding a 30-match winning streak.

UHH recorded its third three-goal game of the trip Sunday and fifth of the season, and its 20 goals already surpass the 19 that Poulsen’s bunch reached in 2013. The 2017 and ‘18 Vuls each netted 23 goals.

Tokunaga is responsible for half of her team’s total, and she has twice as many as any other player in the conference. With a defender on her hip Sunday, she beat the keeper for her fourth goal of the week and fifth of the trip.

Unlike its previous two games — Tokunaga netted the game-winner in the 80th minute Friday in a 1-0 win at Academy of Art — UHH had more breathing room against the Penguins (2-3-3, 1-1).

Filippa Graneld scored her fourth of the season early in the second half after assisting on Alyssa Padron’s first goal, which led to a 2-0 a halftime lead. Nanea Wall also garnered an assist, and goalkeeper Viviana Poli made five saves before giving way to Saydee Bacdad for the final 14-plus minutes.

“Being able to win four matches in a span of eight days is pretty remarkable,” Okamura said. “The players (showed) pure desire and hunger. We created so many opportunities in the four matches and outshot our opponents by a bunch. Got three shutouts, so (we) were organized and disciplined through those matches.”

Powered by a goal from Alexander Hernandez-Herbach, the UHH men played to 1-1 draw with a Dominican team that was playing its conference opener and remained unbeaten in seven matches.

Goalkeeper Michael Harre turned away 10 shots, the second-highest of his UHH career, which spans 25 matches.

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In extra time, Harre punched a free kick over the crossbar. Luca Lippert nearly sent the Vuls (3-5-1, 1-3-1) home with a win when his free kick caromed off the crossbar.

UHH led for nearly 50 minutes until Dylan Finley drew Dominican (5-0-2, 0-0-1) even. In the 18th minute, Hernandez-Herbach netted his second goal. Waturo Muto had an assist.

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