Hawaii says ‘aloha’ to KSU soccer team

Steve Voicik

It will be a memorable weekend for the Kent State soccer team. The squad left Wednesday morning for its cross-country flight to Hawaii.

The team will play Hawaii and Winthrop in the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Classic at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.

Despite the getaway, the team will have a tough test with the host school. While the teams will be meeting for the first time in school history, Hawaii had a very successful season in 2005. With a 5-2 conference record mark, they were able to capture the Western Athletic Conference crown.

As for this season, Hawaii coach Pinsoom Tenzing will mix youth and experience. The Rainbow Wahine return seven starters from last years team to the pitch, while four freshmen will also be seeing significant playing time.

One person Hawaii will be without is Natasha Kai. Kai earned a spot on the United States national team and will be competing for a spot on the 2007 World Cup team. Kai was the all-time Western Athletic Conference leading scorer and was named player of the year in the WAC three times.

Tenzing and Kent State coach Rob Marinaro share similar characteristics. Like Marinaro, Tenzing has built his program from the ground up. In 13 years with the program, Tenzing has already won two conference titles and 100 games.

Tomorrow Kent State will face the Winthrop Eagles. Winthrop, part of the Big South Conference, finished in eighth place last year with a 8-10-1 mark (3-5 Big South). 2003 and 2004, respectively.

Contact soccer reporter Steve Voicik at [email protected].