Wahine soccer team hosts No. 5 USC in Outrigger Kickoff

Wahine kickoff 2019 season against No. 5 USC

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii Wahine soccer team will begin its regular-season schedule with the Outrigger Soccer Kickoff on Thursday Aug. 22 against national power USC.

The Trojans begin the 2019 campaign ranked No. 5 in the country, an Hawaii head coach Michele Nagamine believes the competition will bring the best out of her team.

“It’s going to be very exciting,” said Nagamine. “Anytime you can get a team that’s a caliber of USC with national team players and a team that’s won the national championship, it will be a good test.”

The team will rely heavily on the play from senior goal keeper Alexis Mata who’s started in the net for the Wahine every match the last two seasons.

The senior leader has seen a change in mental preparation in practice, and hopes it yields results on game-day.

“This team is all business,” said Mata. “The theme this year is discipline and finishing through games, and that’s the mindset we have to have.”

Idaho Vandals transfer Kayla Watanabe has returned home after three years on the mainland.

The Mid-Pacific graduate is expected to compete at forward and help provide offense to fill the void left by 2018′s Big West Conference player of the year Raisa Strom-Okimoto.

The senior is eager for the opportunity to compete for her home state in her final collegiate season.

'I’m excited to be home," said Watanabe. “I’m really excited to represent Hawaii and this opportunity is something that I have always wanted to do.”

The Wahine take on No. 5 USC at Manoa’s lower campus Aug 21. at 3:30 p.m. before hosting the University of San Francisco on Aug. 26.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.