University of Nevada women’s soccer adds two transfers and one freshman
RENO, Nev. – University of Nevada women’s soccer head coach Erin Otagaki has signed three new players to her squad for the upcoming season, two of which are transfers and one freshman.
The three newcomers come from all over, ranging from Wailuku, Hawaii, to Happy Valley, Ore. and Las Vegas, Nev.
Ilihia Keawekane – Defender – 5-7 – Sophomore – Wailuku, Hawaii (Oregon State)
Ilihia Keawekane spent one season at Oregon State, seeing action in 13 games as a freshman … She made four starts for the Beavers, playing the full 90 minutes in three of those contests.
She attended Kamehameha Schools Maui in Pukalani, Hawaii and was selected as her team’s captain as a junior and senior, while also being named first-team All-League those same years. Keawekane was named second-team all-state, as well as So Cal Blues Cup Champion in 2017. She was also named an NPL National Champion in 2017 with Davis Legacy and won the Hawaii State Cup in 2014 & 2017. SheLed her team in goals from 2017-18 while also named League Player of the Week in 2017.
Keawekane is majoring in human development and family studies and speech pathology. She chose Nevada because of the coaching staff and campus, and she lists her sports hero as Nicole Garbin. Her Most memorable moment of her career was against Maui High School as a junior where she scored five goals in one game. In her free time, Keawekane enjoys coaching youth players, practicing hula and boxing with her dad.
Quote from head coach Erin Otagaki: “Ilihia is a fantastic center back who will provide great presence on the field. She is tenacious in her defending and is not afraid to get stuck in on a tackle. We are excited for her to come in and bring her experience and talent to the back line.”
Taylor O’Neill – Forward/Defender – 5-4 – Sophomore – Las Vegas, Nev. (Xavier)
Taylor O’Neill spent two years at Xavier University, totaling 32 minutes. She played a career-high 15 minutes on the pitch at Seton Hall, and Won the Big East with her team in 2019.
She attended Green Valley High School in Henderson, Nev. where she lettered in soccer from 2017-19. O’Neill won the Sunrise 4A league in 2017 and was named All Southern Nevada and All-Desert Region in 2018. She totaled 13 goals and eight assists and earned the 2017 Coaches Award and the 2018 Team MVP honor. O’Neill played for the Heat FC ECNL club team from 2016-18 and won the 2016 & 2018 Vegas Cup and the 2018 PDT Championship.
O’Neill is majoring in business management. She decided to come play at Nevada so she could be closer to home, the people at Nevada and the area. She lists her sports hero as Alex Morgan and the most memorable moment of her career was winning the Sunrise 4A Division Championship because they defeated the three-time champions. In her free time, O’Neill enjoys doing charity work with her mom and working out.
Quote from head coach Erin Otagaki: “Taylor is a very speedy and athletic outside back that we are looking forward to adding to our team. We believe Taylor will fit in perfectly to our outside back group who we want to get up and down the flanks.”
Kyla Sullivan – Defender – 5-5 – Freshman – Happy Valley, Ore. (Clackamas HS)
Kyla Sullivan attended Clackamas High School in Happy Valley, Ore. where she lettered in soccer all four years. She won the Mt. Hood conference two years in a row from 2017-18, and she led her team to a state championship runner up in 2018. Sullivan was named first-team All-Conference from 2016-18, All-State second team in 2018, Co-MVP in the state championship in 2018 and her team’s MVP from 2018-19. She scored 58 goals and recorded 25 assists throughout her high school career and also competed with Crossfire United ECNL.
Sullivan is planning to major in political science with a minor in communication. She chose Nevada because the coaching staff feels like family, and she has two cousins already at the school. Sullivan holds her high school record for career goals and assists, and lists Sydney Leroux as her sports hero. The most memorable moment of her career was taking the game-winning penalty kick in the state semi-final her junior year. In her free time, Sullivan enjoys skiing, going to concerts, participating in student council and community events and hanging out with friends and family.
Quote from head coach Erin Otagaki: “Kyla is a fantastic number nine. She is a great back to pressure and has an explosiveness about her game that makes her hard to mark. She is a fun player to watch and will strengthen our attacking efforts.