All the almosts and maybes and nice tries gave way to sudden agony.
The Hawaii soccer team fell to Long Island yesterday in painful fashion when a penalty kick just 18 seconds into overtime gave the Blackbirds a 1-0 win in the finale of the OHANA Hotels and Resorts No Ka Oi tournament at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
Ninety minutes of regulation wasn’t enough to decide it, and just 20 minutes more would have resulted in a stalemate before a crowd of 480. Then LIU junior forward Toni Smith was tripped on an attack in the box moments into the extra period. Junior forward Ariana Calderon blasted a perfect penalty shot to the left of Rainbow Wahine goalkeeper Kanani Taaca for the golden-goal victory.
"This game tonight, to cap it off, it was just … frustrating," said Hawaii co-captain forward Mari Punzal, who had three of UH’s six shots on goal. "We tried to move forward, but our passes weren’t as connected as they were the night before. It’s not the way we wanted to have our record going onto the road. I mean, we can learn from it. It’s only our fourth game."
Hawaii (1-3) departs tomorrow on a three-game road trip, starting with a two-game round-robin tournament at California. UH plays San Francisco on Friday and Cal on Sunday, then heads to Saint Mary’s for a stand-alone game on Sept. 7.
The Wahine have outshot their opponent every game, but haven’t put the stat up that matters most. Except for a four-goal explosion against Wagner, UH has struggled mightily to finish shots.
Coach Pinsoom Tenzing said he’s seen improvement every game from his young team, but knows that won’t keep team morale up for long.
"Bad way to finish. Both sides played really hard, bodies tumbling all over the place," he said. "Somehow, (our players) should have been rewarded with at least a tie. … We are improving, but we’re still having problems solving the offensive conundrum. It hasn’t jelled as of yet, but we’re working on it."
Long Island (2-1) of the Northeast Conference was physical, but certainly beatable. UH could never seem to get past the final defender, and persistence paid off for the visitors from New York, who salvaged a split in the tournament.
"We came out a lot better in the second half and put them under a lot more pressure," LIU coach Tracey Bartholomew said. "Defensively we were organized and it put us in a good position."
Cal Poly secured the No Ka Oi tournament title on Saturday after beating both Hawaii and Long Island.
UH played without key midfielder Rachel Domingo, who Tenzing said was out as a precaution. Domingo hurt an ankle last weekend.
UH doesn’t play at home again until it faces Washington State on Sept. 17 in the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Soccer Classic.