Women’s soccer aims to build on record-breaking season


Chaminade Athletics

Kristen Fujinaga dribbles the ball and breaks through the midfield against Westminister (Utah).

By Manny Ibarra, Staff Writer

The Chaminade University women’s soccer program is already underway with its preseason for the fall campaign. After a record-breaking season under coach Michelle Richardson, where the Lady Swords went 3-11-1, the Silverswords are preparing themselves for the 2015 PacWest Conference season.

“I’m expecting to win and break more records,” senior Kristen Fujinaga said about the upcoming season for the Silverswords.

The women’s soccer team at Chaminade had the most overall wins and most conference wins in the program’s history in the 2014 campaign.

“It gives the girls some momentum and also it changes the culture of being satisfied with mediocrity,” Richardson said.

It has been over a month since the training camp began for the Silverswords, and they have also had a couple of friendly games for preseason. Against Wheeling Jesuit in early September, they earned a 1-0 win even after two consecutive lighting delays. Junior midfielder Lauren Uehara scored the lone goal in this match. Four days later, Chaminade took a 2-0 loss against West Minister (Utah) in what was a great lesson for Richardson early in the preseason.

“That was a wonderful learning opportunity for us early in the season as of how to come back after getting scored on and what it takes to come back and elevate your fellow teammate,” she said. “It will help us be more successful in the long run.”

In other recent preseason matches, the Silverswords faced University of Hawai’i-Hilo last Thursday at home, taking a 1-0 loss in overtime. The Swords played Hawai’i Pacific University at the Sharks’ home, Antherton Field, and dropped the match in a similar 1-0 loss in what was a tough game with few opportunities on goal for the Silverswords.

The seniors will be key this season and will need to show leadership in the field to keep bringing success to the program. Fujinaga, a captain, knows what her duties are and the aspects the team needs to work on to be successful.

“I need to work hard to set up a good example for everybody else and motivate everybody to work hard for each other … skill work, simple passing and doing all the basic stuff well will make everything easier for us,” she said.

Also, the Silverswords’ main striker, senior captain Twyla Hamasaki, returns to play her senior season along with Fujinaga and goalkeeper Lauren Ishii.

Hamasaki led the Swords in goals last season finding the back of the net five times. She was also named Chaminade’s Female Student-Athlete of the Year and earned All-Pacific West Conference Second Team honors.

Richardson is looking to find the right balance and create chemistry in the team between the newcomers and the returning players in order to keep breaking records. The Silverswords brought in seven recruits this year hoping to reach a winning record.

“I think all the newcomers will be helpful regardless of what position or role they’re going to play,” Richaradson said. “We have a nice core group of girls, and I think the younger girls are starting to learn from the returners and play as a team.”