Wahine soccer beats UC Riverside, can clinch playoff spot with win on Sunday

Local Sports

The University of Hawai’i soccer team capitalized on a must-win situation to keep its Big West tournament bid hopes alive with a 2-0 victory over UC Riverside on Thursday night at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
With the win, the Rainbow Wahine (9-6-1, 4-3 BWC) move into fourth place in the conference standings ahead of UC Davis, which tied with Long Beach State earlier in the day. Though tied with UC Davis at 11 conference points, the Rainbow Wahine own the tiebreaker with the head-to-head victory at home on Oct. 7. With the loss, UC Riverside (11-3-3, 2-3-2 BWC) remains at sixth place in the conference standings.

A scoreless tie was broken in the 73rd minute when sophomore defender 

Taylor Mason

 recorded her first-career assist as she ripped a near perfect cross pass into the box finding senior midfielder 

Sarah Lau

. The Honolulu, O’ahu native sprinted from the top right corner of the box, taking the pass from Mason for a header and beating the UCR goalkeeper, marking her second goal of the season.

Moments later in the 78th minute, senior midfielder 

Raisa Strom-Okimoto

 blasted a winding left-to-right insurance goal to give the Rainbow Wahine a comfortable two-goal lead. Strom-Okimoto’s goal was her team-leading and conference-leading 12th of the season and 22nd of her career.

Redshirt junior 

Alexis Mata

 turned in another stellar performance as she recorded three saves on the night and notched her sixth shutout of the year. She ranks No. 2 in the conference in shutouts this season.

In another pivotal matchup to wrap up the regular season, UH will host Cal State Fullerton on Sunday at 2 p.m. HT. A win by UH will earn them the program’s first-ever appearance in the conference tournament.  

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