Thursday, November 26, 2015         


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Rainbow Wahine blow lead twice in tie with NMSU

By Brian McInnis


Exhilaration gave way to frustration on senior night, but at least it wasn't a loss.

In a game it needed to have, the Hawaii women's soccer team twice went ahead against New Mexico State in regulation, but couldn't close the deal in a 2-2 tie last night at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.

Seventh-place UH (3-12-3, 1-3-2 Western Athletic Conference) must work some serious road magic in its final two WAC games to move up to sixth or better and qualify for the WAC tournament.

"Once again, we gave away two goals," UH coach Pinsoom Tenzing said. "You pay for mistakes like that. Live and learn. But overall I was happy with the way they played. Phenomenal amount of pressure on the ball everywhere on the field."

After the match, UH honored its four seniors: Mari Punzal, Chelsea Deptula, Laura Euers and Caycie Gusman. Co-captains Punzal and Deptula were instrumental as true freshmen in 2007 during the team's WAC championship run. The Wahine have missed Punzal, an All-WAC midfielder who is out with an ACL injury.

Deptula was ejected with her second yellow card with 5:44 to play in the second overtime; it was obvious how much she wanted to leave WPSS with a win. UH held on despite going down to 10 players with the ejection.

UH has two road games left to make a run at the tourney, at last-place Nevada on Friday and at first-place Utah State on Sunday. Deptula will miss the Nevada game.

"I'm speechless right now. Very overwhelming," said Deptula of the senior ceremony. "Coach was saying anybody can go in the tournament, it's so neck-and-neck. We'll just see what's in store for the next couple of games."

NMSU (7-7-3, 1-5-1) elicited groans from the crowd of 537 when it quickly answered both UH goals.

Rachel Domingo got UH on the board in the eighth minute via a cross from Lauren Ho. But in the 10th minute, NMSU responded with a Yolanda McMillion shot yielded by some poor UH defense.

UH defender Brittani Lum scored on a free kick just in front of the penalty box in the 49th minute, but the Aggies caused a UH own goal in the 58th minute when the Wahine mishandled the ball in front of the goal on an NMSU corner kick.

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