A disappointing season ended true to form for the Hawaii women’s soccer team, which fell 4-0 at Utah State yesterday.
The Rainbow Wahine needed a victory in their regular-season finale for a chance to move up to sixth place and qualify for the Western Athletic Conference tournament in Ruston, La. But USU’s Lauren Hansen wasn’t having any of it, scoring a hat trick in the first half, including a goal in the second minute.
UH (3-14-3, 1-5-2 WAC) finished eighth among nine teams and missed out on the tourney for the second straight year.
Hansen’s trick treated the Aggies (9-6-5, 5-2-1) to a share of the WAC regular-season title, something the Wahine haven’t tasted since 2007.
The Wahine equaled the fewest wins and most losses in the program’s 17-year history.
Pinsoom Tenzing, the only head coach in program history, is 142-157-30 all-time and is in the final season of his three-year contract. Tenzing said he will talk to UH athletic director Jim Donovan soon after his return to the islands.
Tenzing was proud of his team’s effort to the end.
"As with many of the games, we go down by big margins. We were very careless, and we let in a very early goal," Tenzing said in a phone interview. "And once you give up an early goal it’s difficult to sort of stay in the game. We’ve had problems with doing that all season long."
The loss of Mari Punzal to a season-ending ACL injury certainly hurt, as the young Wahine were simply outclassed and couldn’t generate reliable offense. Tenzing moved several players to unfamiliar positions for much of the season, searching for a workable combination that never panned out.
Some of the lowlights included longest home losing streak (seven), worst single-game loss (9-0 at No. 2 Stanford), most consecutive games being shut out (six) and most goals allowed in a season (53).
"It’s a young team, and a huge learning process for them," Tenzing said. "The kids are wonderful to be around. And they’ll learn, they’ll learn. Many of the younger kids have been forced into positions that they never played. They played there because the situation required it. And they did it without complaint."
A Wahine victory would have been moot, as UH also needed Fresno State to lose to qualify for the tournament. The Bulldogs won at Idaho 1-0 in overtime yesterday.