No secrets, no thrills and no special formula.
Kristine Pasek couldn’t put her finger on how the University of Hawaii at Hilo women’s soccer team keeps finding ways to win, other than the Vulcans are doing it the old-fashioned way.
“Just playing hard and working hard,” she said after she scored to boost UH-Hilo to a 1-0 victory against Notre Dame de Namur on Monday. “I don’t know.
“It’s a good question.”
It helped that she was left unmarked in the 52nd minute to provide the match’s only answer.
Kassandra Talamantez’s free kick from the right flank was headed by Lindsey Poulsen to a wide-open Pasek, who converted from point-blank range for her third goal of the season.
As she was lining up, Talamantez, a junior fullback transfer from Woodland, Calif., treated the play as if she were a quarterback trying to distribute the ball to her playmakers.
“My main goal was to get it to the girls and let them do their thing,” Talamantez said. “They’re good at what they do.
“When I saw Pasek with the ball, I knew she had it. I trust her so much. That girl works hard.”
With their third consecutive victory by a 1-0 score, UH-Hilo (7-3-1, 4-3 Pacific West Conference) surpassed its league win total from last season, when it finished 5-11.
“We’re more into it, more excited to be here and more enthusiastic and ready to win,” said Pasek, who was the team’s leading scorer the last two seasons.
In a match that featured five shots, freshman goalkeeper Jenna Hufford only had to make one save against the Argonauts (4-7-1, 2-3-1) to net her fifth shutout of the season.
Lance Thompson, UH-Hilo’s first-year soccer director, felt the evenly matched teams essentially canceled each other out and played to a stalemate, so it was only natural that the contest came down to one play.
As has become their custom of late, the Vulcans were the team that made it. UH-Hilo has four 1-0 wins on the season.
“That’s when you know something magical is going on,” Thompson said. “This team has buy-in.”
Talamantez feels it, too.
“We come out ready to play and bring the intensity,” she said. “The biggest thing is there is a different kind of energy out there.”
The men’s match, a 1-0 victory for Notre Dame de Namur, was more one-sided.
Jonathan Gonzalez scored off a rebound in the 35th minute as the Argonauts (4-5-1, 2-2-2) kept UH-Hilo (3-6-1, 1-5-1) on its heels, particularly in the second half.
“They’re better than us,” Thompson said. “They controlled the tempo from the start. We were a step behind.
“They were better than us in every aspect.”
UH-Hilo goalkeeper Yonha Andrabi did well to hold Notre Dame de Namur to one goal, making five saves.
Nico Charvet’s two saves both came off good scoring chances for UH-Hilo.
In the first half, he made a diving stop against Thomas Murphy, and late in the match Ian Watanabe had room from about 18 yards out, but he put his shot right on Charvet.
UH-Hilo hosts Dominican on Saturday. The women kick off at 12:30 p.m., while the men play at 3.