Watanabe leads UH women's soccer past UC Irvine
For the second time in as many weeks, the University of Hawai'i soccer team knocked off another Big West Conference opponent at Waipi'o Peninsula Soccer Complex, upending UC Irvine 3-0 on Thursday night.
"It feels amazing," said head coach Michele Nagamine. "It's the best word to describe it. I'm incredibly proud of this team. We talked about trusting the process, and that's hard to do with a young group. I'm thrilled for them as they're seeing the fruits of their labor."
Capitalizing on starting Big West play at 1-0 for the first time in program history, the Rainbow Wahine (4-6-1, 2-0) sit atop the standings in a three-way tie with UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton at 2-0. The Anteaters (3-10, 2-1) fell for the first time in conference action and will head to CSF a week from Friday on Oct. 18.
Senior forward Kayla Watanabe notched the first two goals of her UH career, collecting assists from freshman midfielder Eliza Ammendolia in both the 20th minute and later in the 58th. The two assists by Ammendolia were also the first of her young career.
Watanabe followed the same statistical path as sophomore forward Kayla Ryan when she scored two goals versus CSUN on Oct. 3. Ryan added to her goal totaled by netting her third goal of the season in the 78th minute, claiming the team lead.
For the 12th time in her historic tenure, senior goalkeeper Alexis Mata collected the 12th shutout of her career, the fourth of the season, along with 10 saves. It marks the fourth time in her career Mata has recorded double-digit saves in a match.
Next up the 'Bows will take their first conference road trip of the season with stops at UC Riverside on Friday, Oct. 18, and CSF on Sunday, Oct. 20.