HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER
Pearl City advances to play King Kekaulike
PUKALANI, Maui » "It took forever," said Pearl City co-head coach Frank Baumholtz III.
Not really. It only seemed that way for the Chargers during a first half they spent running into a relentlessly cold, brisk wind whipping through Kanaiaupuni Stadium on the Kamehameha-Maui campus.
But things changed dramatically in the second half as Pearl City took control of the match and advanced to the Meadow Gold Girls Soccer State Championship quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over Kamehameha-Hawaii.
The first goal came via a lovely through ball by senior forward Lauren Maeshiro, setting up Tricia Miura for a point-blank shot and a 1-0 lead just 2 minutes after intermission.
The second came in the 75th minute, when Nestle Yamaguchi's long-range shot struck off the crossbar and directly to the feet of the on-rushing Megan Fuller, who deposited her uncontested shot into the open right side of the net.
"The wind created a lot of problems," Baumholtz said. "In the first half, we would hit a well-struck ball on the ground and it would die after 30 yards. In the second half, we would hit the same ball and it would roll over the end line."
Next up for Pearl City is a date with hometown King Kekaulike, which ended Baldwin's nine-year title run last week to earn the No. 3 seed. Na Alii had finished second to the Bears in each of the previous six years.
"It's going to be a battle," Baumholtz predicted. "We tied them 2-2 in (the Baldwin Classic) in December. Kekaulike is a tough, physical team with some very talented players."
Kaiser 4, Hilo 3, PK
With just seconds left in regulation and a 3-2 lead, Kaiser appeared moments away from winning the opening game of the tournament. Instead, a penalty call that went in Hilo's favor delayed Kaiser's victory celebration.
"Our goalkeeper (Amber Nakachi) went out to punch a high ball and accidentally hit one of their players in face," said Kaiser coach Adolph Samuels. "But our girls did a good job of maintaining their focus. They never panicked. We haven't been in the state tournament since 1998, so winning today on the first day of the tournament with such a young team is huge for us."
Capitalizing on the last-gasp opportunity, Hilo forced the match into overtime when Katrina Chong converted the ensuing penalty kick to tie the score at 3-all.
Neither team mounted a serious threat during 20 minutes of sudden death, sending the contest into soccer's version of Russian roulette.
As he has all season, Samuels used junior defender Cari Makino in goal during the shootout. Makino, who scored the game's first goal, came up big by diving to her right to save Hilo's sixth shot, giving Kaiser a 3-2 edge in the tiebreaker and a berth in the quarterfinals. Not bad for a team that was the fifth and final qualifier from the OIA.
Hilo didn't help its cause by hitting the right post with its first attempt in the shootout and twice missing wide right.
Successful shots by Renee Shitanishi, Eryn Akazawa and the clincher by Alexis Okihara provided the margin of victory.
"She's only a freshman and played only about 10 minutes during the game," Samuels said of Okihara. "I know there was a lot of pressure on her, but she came through big time."
Samuels reserved his highest compliment for Hilo's Erin Arakaki.
"We spent the whole game trying to shut her down," Samuels said of the sophomore midfielder with the high work rate. "She was very tough. All props to her."
Makino opened the scoring in the fourth minute, but Hilo responded by capitalizing on an own goal in the 25th and Chong gave her team a 2-1 lead in the 34th.
Kaiser rallied for a 3-2 lead on goals by Rachel Tomita in the 51st minute and Amanda Suiso in the 68th.
Kauai 2, Moanalua 1
Coach Blanche Arakaki tried to downplay the performance of her skillful freshman striker, Skye Shimabukuro.
"We kind of depend on everyone to score for us," Arakaki said.
But in Kauai's biggest game of the season, Shimabukuro not only accounted for both of her team's goals in a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Moanalua but appeared to be involved in every one of Kauai's offensive challenges.
A rather uneventful first half was in its waning seconds when Moanalua's Mari Nagamine, a senior fullback, launched a 35-yard free kick into the wind and just under the crossbar.
Despite playing into a stiff wind, Kauai took control early in the second half.
Leading the way was Shimabukuro, who dribbled through a pack of Moanalua defenders on the right side of the penalty area and tapped a six-yard shot that rolled just inside the left post 3 minutes after the break.
Shimabukuro struck again in the 57th minute, holding off one challenger and dribbling past two others before launching a curling shot into the left side of the net.
Baldwin 1, Kalani 0, PK
Baldwin advanced to the quarterfinals by outscoring Kalani 3-1 on penalty kicks after the two teams battled through 100 minutes of scoreless soccer.
Baldwin's Jasmine O'Brien, Keisha Shishido and Tylor Kim converted their shots while only Kyla Tamayori was able to connect for Kalani. The Falcons had one shot sail well over the bar, another saved by Baldwin goalkeeper Erin Ichimura and their final attempt crashed against the crossbar.
Baldwin created the best two chances in regulation.
In the 54th minute, Kalani struggled to clear the ball following a Baldwin corner kick. Bears defender Eric English got on the end of the loose ball and unleashed a 22-yard shot that appeared to be headed for the back of the net. But Kalani goalkeeper Yasmina Taketa parried the ball away for another corner kick.
In the 75th, a Baldwin player won a scramble for a loose ball inside the sixth and her shot was cleared off the line by a Kalani defender.
Punahou wins ILH
Deryck Lim scored three goals and Bennett Pang and Christopher Chang each added two goals as the Buffanblu routed Damien 12-1 on the last day of the regular season. The win clinched the Interscholastic League of Honolulu title and a bye into the quarterfinals of next week's state tournament.
The other state-tournament berth goes to Iolani, which shut out Kamehameha 2-0 yesterday behind goals from Dylan Langley and Mike Hirokawa to finish second in the ILH.
The state tournament begins Wednesday at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park.
HHSAA girls soccer
Seeds: 1. Kamehameha. 2. Mililani. 3. King Kekaulike. 4. Konawaena.
Game 1: Kaiser 4, Hilo 3, 2 OT (3-2 PKs)
2: Pearl City 2, Kamehameha-Hawaii 0
3: Kauai 2, Moanalua 1
4: Baldwin 1, Kalani 0, 2 OT (3-1 PKs)
5: Kalani vs. Moanalua, 11 a.m.
6: Kaiser vs. Mililani, 1 p.m.
7: Kauai vs. Kamehameha, 3 p.m.
8: Baldwin vs. Konawaena, 5 p.m.
9: Pearl City vs. King Kekaulike, 7 p.m.