Tuesday, October 6, 2015         


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Wahine coach 'encouraged' by play in 2-0 loss to Pepperdine

By Brian McInnis


New look, same result.

A shift in formation couldn't produce results for the struggling Hawaii women's soccer team, which fell to Pepperdine 2-0 last night in the finale of the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Soccer Classic.

A crowd of 650 at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium saw UH (2-7) drop its fourth straight match overall, and set a dubious record with its fourth consecutive loss at WPSS.

If the Wahine fail to score at No. 2 Stanford on Thursday, they'll get shut out for a school record fourth straight game.

But UH coach Pinsoom Tenzing wasn't outwardly discouraged about the ongoing lack of goals. He saw an uptick in play from the 3-0 loss to Washington State on Friday.

After Stanford, UH plays on Sunday vs. Pacific in Stockton, Calif., before Western Athletic Conference play begins.

"If they give us the same performance in the WAC as they did tonight, we're going to be fine," Tenzing said. "It's not a game that we lost on play. We gave away two goals. Putting goals together was not a product of the success, unfortunately. But they played well today. I'm encouraged by it."

Tenzing moved Chelsea Deptula — traditionally a defender or midfielder — up as a lone forward and Mari Punzal back as a midfielder, and went back to four fullbacks from three. The idea remains to fit the two co-captains in places to maximize their impact.

"I wanted Mari to dominate the middle of the field, and she did," Tenzing said. "We need Deptula's presence in the air. Create (something) on free kicks, corner kicks. Her presence is absolutely essential."

Freshman defender Chelsea Miyake, who made her second start of the season, thought the team was prepared for the shift.

"I think it works better for us (with four in the back), but we can do it either way," she said. "I think we were winning most of the 50-50 balls, and we were fighting for everything."

Still, the Waves (5-3-1) of the West Coast Conference crashed through once in each half. They first struck in the 30th minute on a cross from Michelle Manning to Michelle Spacciapolli, who gathered the lob in traffic by the left post and flicked it in.

The loss was cemented in the 69th minute when sophomore Callie Payetta tacked on a rebound goal after a miss off the left post by Laura Cole.

Pepperdine played on back-to-back days for the first time this season, but still improved to 6-0-1 all-time vs. UH. Washington State had claimed the tourney title on Saturday by defeating Pepperdine 1-0.

"It starts yesterday, because I thought we played really well (vs. WSU) ... and to not score and miss a penalty (kick) was sort of like, ouch," Pepperdine coach Tim Ward said. "So I didn't know how the team was going to respond today, but they did a really nice job. Hawaii came out with a lot of energy. They played better than against Washington (State) the other night."

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