Sunday, April 3, 2005


Punahou senior defender Kelsey Baker is the Star-Bulletin's Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

The defense rests

The closing arguments are in,
and it’s defense over offense
once again

IN the end, defense prevailed over offense, both in the state championships and the Star-Bulletin Girls Soccer Player of the Year selections.

State champion Punahou placed four players on the first team, including Player of the Year Kelsey Baker. The senior defender was the anchor of a stellar Punahou squad that was too fast and too strong for every foe.

Baker was a narrow selection over Hilo forward Katrina Chong, arguably the state's most dangerous scorer.

Baker's toughness, athleticism and leadership helped Punahou to the last three state crowns. She sparked a Buffanblu defensive unit that did not allow a single goal in the past two state tournaments.

A third run to the state title didn't come smoothly.

"We had a lot of younger girls, but by the regular season, we knew each other better," said Baker, who turned a midseason controversy into winning fuel. The unbeaten Buffanblu forfeited a game to Pac-Five after Baker played despite receiving two yellow cards in a previous game against Kamehameha.

Punahou didn't realize that a new rule stipulates a one-game suspension for two yellows.

"After that, I knew I had to be more cautious. I was hurting not just myself, but my team," she said.

She is also a three-time ILH first-team pick, as well as this year's ILH Defensive Player of the Year. Punahou's brand of defense was relentless from start to finish.

"We don't go out to kill people, but if teams try to get physical, we have no problem giving it back," Baker said. "If you back down, you get beat. Hopefully, I helped instill that in our younger players."

Baker was recruited by Pepperdine and Pacific, and has committed to play for the Waves.

"I liked Malibu, and on my recruiting trips, I felt more comfortable at Pepperdine," she said. "I could relate to the girls there better. I like both coaches, but my mom always reminded me that the school should be someplace I want to be, even if I can't play soccer."

Chong was the top goal scorer in the state. The speedy 5-foot-8, 125-pound junior amassed 23 goals and 14 assists in Big Island Interscholastic Federation play. No other player statewide scored more than 16. Chong's offensive production amounted to 46 points.

She was named BIIF Player of the Year and repeated as a first-team selection. She has shown some interest in Hawaii and Arizona, and will attend a summer camp at Santa Clara, Calif.

Coach of the Year honors went to Moanalua's Nikki Dela Pena. Gordon Masuoka of Aiea and Jorge Barbosa of Punahou also merited strong consideration.

The Menehunes went 10-3-4 to complete one of their best seasons ever. Moanalua finished third in the tough OIA West Division and made it to the state title game before falling to Punahou.


First Team

Position Player School Class
GK Amanda Fukushima Moanalua Sr.
D Kelsey Baker Punahou Sr.
D Tehane Higa Aiea Sr.
D Sophie Merrifield Punahou Jr.
D Markee Nobriga Kamehameha Jr.
M Kelsie Look Punahou Sr.
M Elizabeth Brauher Waiakea Sr.
M Elizabeth Carlson Punahou Jr.
M Kelli-Ann Chang Aiea Sr.
F Katrina Chong Hilo Jr.
F Tobi Kanehira Aiea Sr.
F Vanessa Butin Moanalua So.
F Taryn Fukuroku Maui Sr.

Player of the Year

Kelsey Baker, Punahou, Sr.

Coach of the Year

Nikki Dela Pena, Moanalua

Second Team

Goalkeeper: Kiani Wong, Iolani, Sr.
Defender: Kylee Ann Ah Choy, Kamehameha, So.; Angelina Cords, Iolani, So.; Larilyn Alota, Roosevelt, Jr.; Chelsea Deptula, Punahou, So.
Midfielder: Maris Van Der Lee, Baldwin, So.; Lyndsey Watanabe, Castle, Jr.; Chelsea Anglin, Kalaheo, So.; Cheyenne Alejado, Kapolei, So.
Forward: Ambree Ako, Aiea, Jr.; Samantha Teramae, Iolani, So.; Sarah Yoro, Mililani, Sr.; Chelsea Arakawa, Pearl City, Sr.

Honorable Mention

Aiea: Amanda Jungblut, Michelle Shiroma. Baldwin: Noe Bio, Keisha Shishido. Castle: Ashley Kanda, Lovey Walker, Lauren Kanda. HPA: Charnelle Terawaki. Honokaa: Michelle Wilkes. Iolani: Keri Oyadomari, Marci Kang. Kahuku: Kelly Pao. Kailua: Hea Kane, Ariel Moniz. Kaiser: Amanda Suiso. Kalaheo: Kahili Cheng. Kalani: Starlie Chinen. Kamehameha: Caycie Gusman, Kelsi Chan, Asia Aquino. Kapaa: Amnesty Ragsac. Kapolei: Chaney Lopez, Amanda Richardson. Kauai: Kristen Shim, Chelsea Pabo. Kealakehe: Malia Miles, Laura Franke. King Kekaulike: Lynne Guenther, Kelli Ganiko. Konawaena: Marissa Minor. Lahainaluna: Danielle Yakut, Emily Palakiko, Kayla Eubank. Leilehua: Janell Markle, Charlene Borromeo. Mid-Pacific: Mariko Strickland. Miliani: Erin Kikumoto, Natalie Wong, Kristie Sagara, Ashley Nakamoto. Moanalua: Mari Nagamine, Alyssa Moniz. Pac-Five: Kaiulani Manuwai, Ci-Anna Chun-Ming. Pearl City: Chimene Sienkiewicz, Carisa Calpo, Blessing Drumeller. Punahou: Cianna Aiwohi, Rachael Lau, Kelli Nakahara, Marisa Schoen. Seabury Hall: Katie Kilbride. Waiakea: Ashley Werner. Waianae: Tazr'e Wentling.

Selections made by Paul Honda and Brendan Sagara after consulting with coaches


First Team

Amanda Fukushima
Goalkeeper, Moanalua, Sr.
The Menehunes senior had a strong season in goal. Besides lifting Moanalua to the Oahu Interscholastic Association's Eastern Division crown and a second-place finish in the state tournament, Fukushima allowed just two goals during 800 minutes of regular-season play, giving her a 0.20 goals-allowed average.

Tehane Higa
Defender, Aiea, Sr.
Higa capped a stellar high school career by repeating as a first-team selection. A three-time All-OIA West pick, Higa helped Na Alii (8-1-1) capture the OIA title and advance to their third consecutive state tournament semifinal. She led an Aiea defense that allowed just three goals during the regular season. Higa has committed to play for UH next fall.

Sophie Merrifield
Defender, Punahou, Jr.
At 5-foot-9, Merrifield gave the Buffanblu a physical presence on their back line this season. A fierce competitor, Merrifield helped Punahou control the middle of the field and won a lot of balls to spur counter attacks. The skilled junior helped Punahou allow just three goals in 15 games this year, as the Buffanblu repeated as ILH and state champions.

Markee Nobriga
Defender, Kamehameha, Jr.
The speedy flank defender helped the Warriors go 8-3-1 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu by shutting down opponent attacks. She also contributed on the offensive side, finishing with the third-highest goal total in the ILH. Nobriga has been a member of the state Olympic Development Program team since the eighth grade.

Kelsie Look
Midfielder, Punahou, Sr.
Look provided versatility in the midfield for the three-time state champs. This year, Look led arguably the most competitive league in scoring as Punahou repeated as ILH champs. A second-team All-State pick a year ago and an honorable-mention selection as a sophomore, Look moves up to the first team after netting three game-winners during the ILH schedule.

Elizabeth Brauher
Midfielder, Waiakea, Sr.
A two-time Olympic Development Program Region IV pool selection, Brauher earned her third straight All-BIIF first-team honor this year. An All-State second-team pick last year, Brauher finished among state scoring leaders with 13 regular-season goals as the Warriors went 10-3. Brauher has signed a letter of intent to play for UH next season.

Elizabeth Carlson
Midfielder, Punahou, Jr.
An honorable-mention All-State pick last year as a sophomore, Carlson finished third in the ILH in scoring, earning All-ILH first-team honors. She proved her big-game propensity in the state tournament, scoring game-winning goals in both Punahou's quarterfinal and semifinal wins over OIA West champ Pearl City and Mililani, respectively.

Kelli-Ann Chang
Midfielder, Aiea, Sr.
The speedy attacking midfielder covered a lot of ground for the OIA champion Na Alii as they made their eighth straight state tournament appearance. This year Chang repeated on the All-OIA West squad, sparking an Aiea offense that netted 52 goals in 10 league games. Chang is being recruited by the University of Hawaii.

Tobi Kanehira
Forward, Aiea, Sr.
Kanehira was a fierce and dynamic offensive force, scoring 11 goals for Na Alii to earn All-OIA West first-team honors. An honorable-mention All-State performer last year, Kanehira was also all-league, and was voted to the All-OIA East Division team as a sophomore midfielder at Roosevelt. The 5-foot-1 Kanehira has drawn interest from Idaho and UH.

Vanessa Butin
Forward, Moanalua, So.
The 5-foot-5 Butin led the OIA East in scoring with nine goals as the Menehunes captured the league title and advanced to the state title match. For her efforts, Butin was named the division Player of the Year. Butin's success is of no surprise to Oahu soccer insiders, who have seen her progress as a member of the Hawaii state Olympic Development Program.

Taryn Fukuroku
Forward, Maui, Sr.
Recruited by Hawaii, San Francisco, Portland State and South Carolina State, Fukuroku led the MIL in scoring for the past two seasons. She netted 16 goals as a junior and 11 scores this year. The three-time All-MIL first-team selection was also an honorable-mention All-State pick in basketball. Fukuroku has already signed a letter of intent to play soccer for UH.

Compiled by Paul Honda and Brendan Sagara.

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