Waipahu, Ewa Beach Standouts Join HPU Soccer Team
When Hawaii Pacific University head women’s soccer coach Gina Brewer scouts prospective recruits, she always makes sure they are good students first and foremost, in addition to their skill set on the playing field.
Among her latest recruiting class, Brewer believes she has a group that combines all of the above qualities.
“To get your program where it needs to be, you have to (recruit ‘character kids’ first),” she said. “All of our recruits have high GPAs. We’re very excited about this class. I think they’ll continue to help us change the face of our program so that we’re competing for the PacWest (Conference) Championship every year.”
Brewer’s 2014 recruiting class, who signed their National Letters of Intent recently, numbers eight, although that figure could grow if she adds a few walk-ons she is considering bringing into the fold.
Among her signees are a couple of highly regarded prospects in Hannah “Lei” Kaina of Waipahu and Taylor Cabbab of Ewa Beach.
Kaina, who is a midfielder, was a star at Kamehameha-Kapalama. She was a key member of the Warriors team that captured the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Division I Girls’ State Soccer Championships in February at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex.
At HPU, Kaina will be what Brewer terms “a defensive mid-fielder.”
“I’ve watched her for the past two years, and especially during these past high school championships, and one of the biggest things was her consistency in her role,” said Brewer. “I love her positive attitude and her work ethic. She’s physical and always willing to be tough and win the (individual) battles. She’s not afraid of a challenge.
“She’s one with more of a defensive mindset,” added Brewer. “She’s someone who can disrupt play (from a defensive standpoint) and get the ball back to us. She also has a real powerful shot. She’s the type of player you look to build a program from. I’m excited about her as a recruit.”
Kaina was recognized as an Impact Player at the 2012 HHSAA State Championships and was named to the recent 2014 HHSAA All-Tournament Team as well.
Cabbab, also a midfielder, helped lead Campbell to a 9-3 record this past season, which included a 7-0 start in the ultra-competitive OIA Red West Conference.
“We’re looking for her (to play) on the left side,” Brewer said. “She’s able to serve a really good lofted ball in the air. We’re looking for her to create some opportunities with that beautiful ball that she’s able to play with accuracy and finesse.”
Cabbab was named to the OIA Honorable Mention Team in 2011 and 2013, and landed on the second team in 2012.
HPU’s new class also includes heralded midfielder Sarah Romo from Elk Grove, Calif. She also played forward for Franklin High School. Romo also was a member of the 2012 and 2013 San Joaquin Division I Championship teams and has been named a Top-10 player to watch in the Greater Sacramento Area.
Stephanie Martinez (Chaparral High School, Calif.), Marianna Virginia de Magalhaes Castro (Redmond, Wash.), Rachel Green (West Jordan High School, Utah), Lindsay Hurley (Columbia River High School, Wash.) and Stacie Loidolt (Lewis Palmer High School, Colo.) round out HPU’s 2014 recruiting class.
“This is a very talented and diverse group, in terms of both position and where they’re coming from,” Brewer said. “We’ve added girls from Washington, Utah, Colorado, Northern and Southern California, as well as a couple girls from Hawaii. Bringing in a diverse group of talented girls was a goal we set at the beginning, and I am very happy with our class.”
The Sea Warriors are currently in the midst of spring conditioning and expect to compete in a few “non-championship matches” this semester before turning their attention toward next season.