OIA BOYS SOCCER
Trojans top Menehunes
It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but Mililani showed the kind of precision that championship teams are made of.
Josh Edelo and Jordan Phanphongsa connected for a goal late in the first half as the Trojans outlasted Moanalua 1-0 last night in the semifinals of the Oahu Interscholastic Association boys soccer championships.
Moanalua (10-2-1), the top seed from the East, will play for third place tomorrow at Kailua.
"We played a decent game, but we didn't play hard enough," Menehunes coach Spencer Machado said. "Sometimes, we weren't focusing."
A boisterous audience at Kapolei High School saw West runner-up Mililani (9-1-1) enjoy the wider dimensions of Kapolei's soccer field.
"We like to possess the ball a little more," Mililani coach Jeff Yamamoto said. "The way Moanalua played us made it more challenging,"
Unlike most fields, which have football dimensions, the boundaries at Kapolei are at legitimate soccer width. "They tried to get us in offsides position. They put lots of players back," said Yamamoto, one of the most experienced coaches in the islands. "Moanalua did a really good job."
Edelo benefited from the cushion Moanalua gave him. He launched a 40-yard cross diagonally from the right sideline to the box, where Phanphongsa arrived to tap in a 5-yard, left-footed kick at the 36-minute mark. By the second half, the Trojans spread the field and stuck with their game plan.
"That's what we try to do, drive the flanks and serve our forwards," said Edelo, a senior. "They gave me a lot of space on the outside. We can work the ball more with a wider field."
Phanphongsa, a freshman, praised Edelo for a perfect pass.
"He made a cross from the flank. He just played it to me," he said.
Practice, according to Edelo, makes perfect.
"We practice it all the time, so we assume the forwards are there," he said.
A pair of collisions in the box during the final few minutes left Machado steaming mad at officials. Both times, the Menehunes were close to getting kicks off that could have tied the game.
Neither coach commented on the contact.
The Trojans have won eight OIA titles under Yamamoto.
Kapolei 2, Leilehua 0
The unbeaten Hurricanes scored both goals in the first half in an intense battle that turned ugly in the final minutes.
Kapolei (11-0-0), the top seed in the West, will meet Mililani for the OIA championship at 6 p.m. Saturday at Kaiser.
Leilehua (8-3-1), the third seed from the West, will face Moanalua in a third-place game tomorrow at Kailua.
Kapolei set the tone early. The 'Canes scored almost immediately when Daniel Garcia delivered a quick pass in the box to Curtis Kiyabu, who scored on a lefty kick from 10 yards out.
They added their second goal at the 39-minute mark when Justin Malvar tapped in a header on the ground by Drew Geis.
Leilehua struggled offensively without Syd Tom, who suffered a concussion last week. Daniel Phelps tried to pick up the slack, but was hounded by Hurricanes and was unable to score on three tough attempts in the second half.
At the 73-minute mark, Garcia collided with Leilehua's goalkeeper in the box and was assessed two yellow cards for his reaction. Two minutes later, a skirmish erupted downfield, which led to a red card for Leilehua midfielder Aric Edra.
"I'm a little discombobulated right now. I'm disappointed with the way the teams behaved," Mules coach Carl Friedl said of the late-game lowlights that marred a very entertaining match.
"We couldn't adjust at midfield. Their two guys at midfield did a good job," Friedl noted.
Kapolei coach Bryce Kaneshiro had mixed feelings about the win.
"I'm disappointed that we reacted to things," he said. "For us, keeping our heads in the game is the problem we need to work on the most. When we focus on the game, we're tough to beat. "It wasn't easy. Tom was out, and that left Phelps as their primary scorer."
Playoff required for ILH girls title
Punahou (10-2-0) forced Kamehameha (10-2-0) into a playoff for the regular-season championship by running over the Warriors 5-2 in the final game of the ILH varsity girls regular season yesterday at Kapiolani Park.
Carly Wachi put Punahou on the board first with the only goal of the first half in the 31st minute. Lizzy Carlson and Sophia Merrifield would later help secure the win with goals in the 13th and 16th minutes. Markee Nobriga and Caycie Gusman scored Kamehameha's two goals in the loss.
The teams meet again at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, at Saint Louis field, with the ILH regular-season championship and the ILH's sole berth to next week's HHSAA girls state soccer championships at stake.