Sophomore midfielder Eileen Maes recorded her second career hat trick to give WSU a successful weekend as they took on the Hawaii Rainbows in their season opener Friday in Honolulu.
Nearly 3,000 fans poured into Hawaii’s Waipi'o Peninsula Soccer Stadium on Friday evening, inspiring the Rainbow’s to get off to a quick start. In the seventh minute, the Rainbows took advantage of a free kick 35 yards out, creating a scoring opportunity as senior Brittani Lum put a header to the back of the net giving them a 1-0 advantage.
The match remained constant all the way to the 51st minute when Maes was able to pick up a rebound from freshman Jocelyn Jeffers and put the ball past the Hawaii goalkeeper.
Just 14 minutes later, a free kick was awarded to the Cougars just past the penalty box. With a wall of Hawaii defenders blocking the goal, Maes took the kick and fired the ball through, giving the Cougars their first lead of the game.
“I think we got a little winded,” Rainbow Head Coach Michele Nagamine said in a Hawaii press release. “When you start to get tired, the mistakes are a lot more plentiful.”
The Cougars scored their last goal in the 73rd minute when senior midfielder Jacquelyn Roth crossed the ball to Maes for a hard delivery to the near post. No other goals were scored in the game and the Cougars ended the match with an 11-7 shot advantage.
"Even after giving up a goal, we showed maturity and patience in our play," Head coach Matt Potter said. "Halftime gave us an opportunity to change tactically and the product spoke for itself. The willingness of the team to adapt the game plan to the situation bodes well for the future."
The win improved WSU to a 6-0-1 all-time record in season openers on the road, and Maes became the second Cougar in history to have multiple hat trick matches. The other hat trick Maes recorded was last season in the second half in a rivalry match against Gonzaga.
"We waited a long time for tonight to come, and against a tough and resilient Hawaii team, we found out more about the potential of our team," Potter said.
The Cougars look to the future as they travel to take on the nationally ranked Portland Pilots this Friday before returning home to host Seattle University.