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HPU Women’s Soccer Puts Veteran Talent In Play For 2014

Leadership on the playing field isn’t something HPU women’s soccer head coach Gina Brewer will have to worry about this fall. Senior mid-fielder Taylor Rae Silva displays enough guidance to go around.

“She’s fantastic — she’s one of the most competitive players we have,” Brewer said of Silva, a Kaneohe resident and former Kamehameha stand-out in her prep days. “She strived every day to get the team to the level we want. She brings that competitive spirit. She’s also involved with ROTC and spent her summer fulfilling her requirements, and she’s a nursing student. She has a lot on her plate, but she manages it all.”

Silva and the Sharks have high hopes for 2014 with key components back from last year’s team, which went 5-5-2 in the PacWest Conference.

“What I like best is definitely that we have a lot of returnees and experience,” Brewer said. “They have a better understanding of what we’re trying to do, and that always bodes well for teams. We see all four of our seniors as being impact players, and we have 10 juniors who we perceive as rounding out the line-up.”

HPU tallied 13 goals last season in 17 games, but could be more productive this fall, in Brewer’s view.

“Our strength will be in our attack — we should have a lot of opportunities,” she said, noting returning seniors Ashlyn Ubongen and Lexi Cameau, and junior Erika Ellis. The trio combined to score nine of HPU’s 13 goals in 2013.

Brewer also expects much from a talented freshman class. “I can see a lot of them stepping in and being starters in the future. I like our freshman class. It just takes a little time for them to understand how we play.”

The schedule also could prove a boost for the Sharks, who began a five-game home stand on Kaneohe’s Atherton Field late last week. “I’m excited to have a lot of games at home (in the beginning),” Brewer said. “A home-field advantage is always good. You’re more comfortable at home. Hopefully, we can get some wins and gain some momentum for the rest of the season.”

HPU, which was to play both Pace University and Saint Thomas Aquinas College last weekend, will return to action at 3 p.m. Saturday versus Florida Institute of Technology. The Sharks also have home games versus Western Oregon Sept. 11 and Hawaii-Hilo Sept. 13.

Atherton Field also hosts Azusa Pacific Oct. 4, Point Loma Oct. 6, Dixie State Oct. 9, Cal Baptist Oct. 11, BYU Oct. 17 and Chaminade Nov. 1.