Once again, host Hawaii will try to win one of its host soccer tournaments the hard way.
Cal Poly of the Big West Conference struck fast and held off a fervent Hawaii attack in the second half to win 2-1 in the opener of the OHANA Hotels and Resorts No Ka Oi tournament before a crowd of 487 at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
The Rainbow Wahine (1-2) spent the entire second half searching for an equalizer that never came, despite displaying an energy coach Pinsoom Tenzing couldn’t fault. UH outshot Poly 20-10, including 8-2 after halftime, but couldn’t get one to go.
UH will look to even up its record vs. Long Island tomorrow at 5 p.m. to conclude the tourney. Poly (1-1) can take the three-team event outright today with another victory, but should it lose, UH can win the title via goal differential, as it did last week in its first tournament.
"I guess we couldn’t put them away tonight, but we were really trying; we connected passes," said freshman midfielder Karli Look, who impressed her coach by running down opponents all game. "If we keep doing it, one of these days it’ll work."
Hawaii’s best shot in the second half, a goal that initially looked good by backup forward Caycie Gusman in the 75th minute, was nixed when she was called offside.
UH went with the same three-defender alignment it used successfully against Wagner last weekend … only this time, it was exploited by a fired-up team that lost 7-0 to No. 3 UCLA on Wednesday.
Poly stunned UH at the outset when Mustangs midfielder Tiffany Gummow slotted a through ball to Cici Kobinski, who used her shin to put a bouncer past Wahine goalkeeper Kanani Taaca in the second minute.
"We need to be better. We don’t have the numbers (in the back), so we can’t be as cavalier as we were," Tenzing said. "But overall, a lot of energy, all over the field. I can’t fault them for that."
The Mustangs made it a 2-0 in the 37th minute on Bianca Burright’s alert play from about 25 yards out. The ball deflected off a UH defender to Burright, who lofted a shot over Taaca’s head.
Senior forward Mari Punzal gave UH hope a minute later when she collected a deflected shot by midfielder Rachel Domingo and shot the ball past Poly keeper Brooke Gauvin from 10 yards, making it 2-1 at the break.