HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 2019 season for the University of Hawai’i Wahine soccer team has been a historic run for the team and the program.
After reaching their first Big West Tournament in program history, the individual accolades are starting to pile up for the players and staff.
For the first time in her nine-year career as the head coach of the Rainbow Wahine, Michele Nagamine was named the Big West Conference Coach of the Year.
After just missing the tournament a year ago, Nagamine led the 'Bows on a charge in 2019 where they went 4-1-3 in the conference to secure the program’s first-ever berth into the conference tournament.
Nagamine also saw her team win its first-ever Big West opener and start its road conference schedule with a win in 2019, and led the team to its best win percentage ever in Big West conference play.
With Nagamine at the helm, UH was second in the conference in goals scored versus conference opponents with 14 and ranked third in goals allowed with 10.
After earning all-conference honorable mention honors in 2018, goalkeeper Alexis Mata was a reliable force all season for the Wahine in between the posts.
Mata, led the Big West Conference in saves this season, tying her career-high with 96.
She also led the conference in minutes played at 1636:11, while ranking second in save percentage at .800, and was third in shutouts with five.
As her career nears the end, Mata ranks in the top three in virtually every goalkeeper category in UH program history including minutes played, saves, save percentage, shutouts, and numerous others.
Mata, was just one of several Wahine who earned conference recognition early this morning.
UH also had three selections to the all-conference first team with sophomore forward Kayla Ryan, freshman midfielder Eliza Ammendolia, and Mata.
Ryan led the team in goals scored with seven, and each of those seven goals was scored against conference opponents.
Ryan, also registered two matches this year with multiple goals. Eliza Ammendolia, was a late signee by the 'Bows worked her way from role player to starter, and now a first-team selection.
She was the most significant offensive threat for UH, accounting for a team-high four assists, while consistently drawing double teams for her knack of creating opportunities for her teammates.
Senior forward transfer Kayla Watanabe and sophomore defender Elena Palacios were each named to the second team. Watanabe, returned home to Hawai’i to play her final season and instantly made a contribution as the lead attacker for the offense.
Watanabe, tallied three assists and two goals on the season.
Palacios was named to the All-Freshmen squad last season and continues to get better. As a towering presence in the middle of the field, Palacios was the lead defender and stopper for a defense that allowed just 10 goals in eight conference matches.
She was the only field player in 2019 to tally over 1500 minutes, accounting for a total 1,629 minutes of action.
The only match this season she didn’t play every minute of was against UCLA, where she played 82 of 90 minutes.
Freshman forward Kelci Sumida, was named Honorable-Mention for the Big West Conference. Sumida, came to UH as an offensive threat and played her role finishing second on the team in goals with five. Sumida snaked her way through the defense, creating opportunities for her and her teammates throughout the year. Sumida led the 'Bows in game-winning goals with three and provided a one-two punch with Ryan on the attacking edges.
The Wahine are back in action Nov. 7 on the road against Cal State Fullerton in the Big West Tournament.