Nevada soccer beats Hawai’i | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada soccer beats Hawai’i

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – It was a case of deja vu for the Nevada and Hawai’i soccer teams Thursday night.

Six days ago, Nevada scored two early goals and rolled to a 5-0 win during the final week of the regular season.

On Thursday, Nevada’s Samantha Miller scored two goals in a 65-second span in the first half en route to a 3-0 win over the Rainbow Wahine in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference championships at Mackay Stadium.

“Never did I think we’d jump on them like that again,” Nevada coach Terri Patraw said. “It was exactly like last week. It’s a great start for us. It allowed us to get players off the field to save their legs.”

“It was exactly like last week,” Hawai’i coach Pinsoom Tenzing said. “They are a very good team. It sounds like an excuse. The turf is way too fast; too fast for us. We had two players playing for the first time since coming back from an injury.”

The win pushes Nevada into the semifinals against Utah State tonight at 5:30. Utah State knocked off the Pack 2-0 in Logan, Utah on Oct. 20. It’s a game that Nevada felt it should have won, and Patraw makes no bones about it.

“We outplayed them,” Patraw said. “They would tell you that. They are so different from Hawai’i. Hawai’i is so offensive minded that they are vulnerable in the back and that’s why we’ve scored so many goals on them. Utah State is very different. They are more defensive minded and they counterattack with Cherry Weston up top.”

It’s a game that Nevada needs desperately for two reasons. First, the Pack would like a return match with Fresno State in Sunday’s finals. Secondly, a trip to the finals, according to Patraw could mean serious NCAA consideration. Patraw thought earlier this week that the Pack had no chance unless it won the WAC. That attitude seems to have changed.

“I’ve heard that Oregon and Washington State are getting some interest, and we beat both of them (2-1 over each school),” Patraw said. “We have a better result against common opponents.”

Patraw knows that the Pack will have to finish like they did in the first half against the Rainbow Wahine, and she could certainly use another big performance by Miller.

Hawai’i failed to clear a ball out of its own area in the 8th minute, and Miranda Montejo fed it to Miller, her former high school teammate, who beat Hawai’i goalie Kori Lu for a 1-0 lead.

Just over a minute later, Nevada had a two-goal lead when Devin Noe fed Miller, who beat Lu again.

“The second one I didn’t even see go in because I was on the ground,” Miller said. “I just heard people yelling. It had a weird spin on it. The first one wasn’t the prettiest. I just threw my body into it.”

Patraw said Miller’s athleticism and quickness afoot led to both scores.

“Samantha has so much speed,” Patraw said. “She’s first team all-WAC. She’s playing at such a high level right now.”

Hawai’i was done and its coach knew it.

“It’s difficult to come back from one goal, and two is nearly impossible, especially against a tough team like Nevada.” Tenzing said.

Nevada made it 3-0 in the 48th minute when Miller kicked one off the chest of Kelly McCloskey. The ball bounced past Lu, who had come out on the play.

Nevada’s defense, led by Randee Robinson, Jessica Wilcox, Devin Noe, Patrice Godwin and Terran Hadlock controlled play the rest of the way.

Hawai’i had just seven shots, and only four of them were on goal. The closest Hawai’i came to scoring was in the 59th minute when keeper Caitlin Holmes tipped a Hawai’i shot over the crossbar.

“Caitlin came up big and made a couple of good saves,” Patraw said.

Nevada has won four straight and outscored opponents 18-1 in that span. The goal binge has given Nevada a boost of confidence.

“Scoring goals makes a big difference,” Miller said. “They moved Miranda up top (last week) and that makes a lot of difference. We have great chemistry because we’ve played together for so long.”

SPARTANS WIN SHOOTOUT

San Jose State moved to the semifinals on the basis of its 4-2 edge in the shootout.

The teams played to a scoreless tie after 90 minutes of regulation play and two 10-minute overtime periods.

“If I could give you a read on my team, I would,” San Jose State coach Dave Siracusa said. “They step up and play at the strangest times. This wasn’t one of them.

“She (goalie Marissa Dayton) was awesome. That’s it.”

San Jose converted its first two kicks in the shootout for a 2-1 lead, and then Dayton stopped Boise’s Brennan Lau. SJSU’s Kristin Krale pounded one in the right corner for a 3-1 lead, but Brittney Dugger beat Dayton to make it 3-2. Jackie Zabek followed with a shot in the right corner for a 4-2 edge.

“I didn’t know which way I was going to go,” Zabek said. “The keeper didn’t look like she was ready, so. I chose as I was running. It came down to the last game. We didn’t want to go home.”

Alli Tsuchida’s shot hit the left post, ending the match.

Dayton held up well despite it being the first shootout of the season.

“The second one (miss) I’m not sure if I touched it or not,” Dayton said. “They were shooting with the wind, and the balls were coming so fast. I knew where she was going to go. As a goalkeeper you learn tendencies and just react.

“They are going to shoot to the right side because it’s the natural way to go. If they open up, they aren’t going to the right. I go in thinking just save one. I’ve done it so many times (over the years).”

•Contact DarrellMoody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1281