Posted with permission, article and pictures, courtesy of University of Hawaii Hilo
UH Hilo Women’s Soccer Team to Face Three Top CCAA Teams to Start, PWC SoCal’s to Finish
If you want to be among the best again, you have to play the best and UH Hilo women’s soccer coach Gene Okamura has put together his 2022 schedule accordingly.
Okamura announced his schedule today, and it includes four very tough preseason matches, his program’s first-ever games on their new field and finishes with a gauntlet of four top southern California teams on the road.
The Vulcans set new program marks in 2021 with a 12-4 overall record, a co-Pacific West Conference championship and a first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. They return eight players who started at least half of the 2021 contests, and Okamura has a signee class of a dozen—including four Division I transfers, three D-II transfers and five freshmen (more on that class next week).
For what is expected to be a title-contending team, this is a schedule that preps them with challenges early.
2022 begins with an Oahu match on September 1 against Cal State East Bay, an NCAA tournament team that went 11-5-5 overall and fell to Point Loma on penalty kicks in the in the west regional. Earlier, the Pioneers won the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) tournament, sending them to Seattle to take on the Sea Lions.
Next is a batch of three matches in five days. The action begins on September 8 at San Francisco State (tied for third in the CCAA in 2021), followed by a trip to Turlock to face Stanislaus State on Sept. 10 (8-6-4 in ’21). From there the Vulcans head a time zone east to take on the Regis Rams in Denver (Sept. 12), facing a squad that went 14-6 last fall and 9-3 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
In total, UHH’s preseason opponents had a combined record of 41-25-12 last fall.
Already somewhat seasoned, the Vulcans will return to Hilo to play their first-ever matches on their brand new campus turf field. Four matches are slated from Sept. 17 to October 1 in Hilo, followed by two match-ups with island rivals Hawaii Pacific and Chaminade on Oahu, before returning home for two more matches (Oct. 15 and 18) against Fresno Pacific and Holy Names.
The regular season finishes with a rough series of four matches in southern California, where the four top 2021 teams in the PacWest (in addition to UHH) reside. That includes a Oct. 24 bout in San Diego against last fall’s co-champ, Point Loma.
“It’s a worthy schedule for this team,” Okamura said. “We have big goals for 2022 and this schedule helps gets us ready for a very tough PacWest season, including an extremely challenging final four matches. Last season, we were able to play the southern California teams at home, but this year it’s our turn to travel to them.”