Rainbows have speed to catch Mustangs in WAC
By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
University of Hawai'i women's soccer coach Pinsoom Tenzing is up front about the three players who'll be playing up front for him this season.
In junior Arlene Devitt and freshmen Natasha Kai and Carmen Calpo, Tenzing feels he has speedy forwards who should put many balls into the back of the net.
"We have speed all over, but we have exception speed up front with Calpo, Kai and Devitt," said Tenzing, who is entering his ninth season. "We have size and speed. We will score goals. Many more of them than we've done in the past."
Devitt led the team last season with 29 points on 12 goals and five assists.
This season, the Kapa'a High graduate will have two young scoring threats to help her out.
"She's got people to work with up front," Tenzing said. "She's a very giving person and can control the ball and feed these hungry forwards up front."
Tenzing has been following Kai, of Kahuku High, and Calpo, of Pearl City High, for quite a while.
"I've been tracking both of them since ninth grade in high school," Tenzing said. "It's a little bit beyond my expectations their speed, size and finesse on the ball."
Calpo is a true freshman, while Kai took her first collegiate season off last year.
Tenzing referred to both as "the fastest things on two legs I've seen in a while."
Devitt, Kai and Calpo scored every goal in a 7-0 exhibition victory over Douglas College of Canada on Aug. 22 at the Waipi'o Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
"We're really tough and physical and have a lot of endurance," Kai said. "We have the speed and talent and if we put it all together we have a good team."
Tenzing said he expects solid play from the midfield and defense, but added junior defender Liz Lusk may need season-ending knee surgery. She started 19 of 20 matches last season, when the Rainbows finished 10-10 overall and advanced to the final of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.
"Defensively we lost Liz to injury. Nobody can replace Liz Lusk," Devitt said.
Senior goalie Jennifer Churchill started 16 matches last season and allowed 1.7 goals per match.
Hawai'i will be a young team this season with only four seniors on the 26-player roster. Senior Wanette Miyashiro and sophomores Joelle Sugai and Krystalynn Ontai are the team captains.
The Rainbows were picked to finish second in the nine-team WAC by the league's coaches.
Southern Methodist was picked to win the WAC. Hawai'i hasn't beaten the Mustangs in four meetings.
"I think SMU is in for a big surprise," Devitt said.
In addition to speed, size and skill, Tenzing said the team has good chemistry.
"They're happy as a team," he said. "That's a plus we've never had before."
Calpo said: "Everybody gets along. (The chemistry) is good."
The Wahine will open the regular season tonight at Waipi'o against Alabama-Birmingham in the OHANA Hotels and Resorts No Ka Oi Tournament.