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Hawaii women’s soccer players from Maui share experiences with wildfires after playing at USAFA

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - On Thursday, August 31, the U.S. Air Force Academy women's soccer team hosted the University of Hawaii.

What would be the third all-time matchup between the two programs, would prove to be a special one.

In early August of 2023, a wildfire ravaged the town of Lahaina on the Island of Maui. To date, the blaze killed 115 people and has left hundreds more unaccounted for by authorities.

Two players on the "Rainbow Wahines", who both hail from the Island of Maui, were dealt a heavy blow in their pre-season workouts.

"I just remember talking to my dad when I first started and basically just staying up all night getting updates and just looking at the news as my outlet," explained Sophomore Penelope Noland.

Just a few weeks after leaving for school, Penelope Noland and Kaya Kapaku had no choice but to watch from afar as Lahaina, was ravaged by fire.

"Even though I'm only an island away, it's like I'm millions of miles away," Noland said.

But, she also said there's no community like the islands of Hawai'i.

"We are separate islands,  but not deep down, you know, it's like Hawaii runs so deep in everyone. And when one island is suffering, all the islands are suffering," Noland said.

The U.S. Air Force women's team gifted a scarf and a plaque to the Haiwain team captains.

The rainbow Wahines were also sporting "Maui strong" patches on their warm-up shirts.

You can assist the Maui Food Bank, by clicking here.

Donate to the Hawaii Community Foundation by clicking here.

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Tyler Cunnington

Tyler is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.


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