HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER
Kamehameha tops Kauai
PUKALANI, Maui » Michele Nagamine acknowledges that she has had better individual talent during her tenure at Kamehameha. But she can't recall a better team in the most basic sense of the word.
"This group really believes in each other," Nagamine said after her top-seeded Warriors posted a 2-1 win over Kauai in yesterday's quarterfinal round of the state high school girls' soccer tournament. "There's not a single selfish player on this team. There's no finger-pointing. These girls assume individual responsibility.
HHSAA girls soccer
Seeds: 1. Kamehameha. 2. Mililani. 3. King Kekaulike. 4. Konawaena.
5: Kalani 1, Moanalua 0
6: Mililani 2, Kaiser 1
7: Kamehameha 2, Kauai 1
8: Baldwin 1, Konawaena 0
9: Pearl City 2, King Kekaulike 1
10: Kamehameha-Hawaii vs. Hilo, 11 a.m.
11: Kauai vs. Konawaena, 1 p.m.
12: Kaiser vs. King Kekaulike, 3 p.m.
13: Kamehameha vs. Baldwin, 5 p.m.
14: Mililani vs. Pearl City, 7 p.m.
15: Winners of Games 10 & 5, 1 p.m.
16: Winners of Games 12 & 11, 3 p.m.
17: Losers of Games 14 & 13, 5 p.m.
18: Winners of Games 14 & 13, 7 p.m.
"In past years, we've had very good players. But a lot of them were more concerned about what was in it for them. They wanted to be the star. They wanted to score the goal," added Nagamine, who guided Kamehameha to the consecutive state titles in 1995 and 1996, only to watch more talented squads fall short on championship bids at the league and state level.
Nagamine's observations are more than idle coach-speak. The players themselves echoed her comments. And, more importantly, showed their selflessness where it mattered most -- on the field.
Case in point: Kamehameha's first goal, when freshman Meleana Shim laid off a pass to unmarked senior striker Caycie Gusman for a 12-yard shot into the lower left corner 2:25 into the second half.
"Meleana is a left-footer and she was in good position to take a shot," Nagamine said. "But she saw Caycie in a better spot and gave the ball up. The play typified what this team is all about."
Gusman thanked her "sister" for the pass. They are not actually related, except in a soccer sense.
"We each have a sister on the team, someone who we warm up and do drills with," Gusman said. "But we have a team full of sisters. Everyone on this team watches each others' back."
Another pin-point pass, this one splitting Kauai's defense, allowed sophomore midfielder Sanoe Souza to get at the end of the ball and score a breakaway goal in the 49th minute.
Kauai freshman striker Skye Shim accounted for her team's goal in the final seconds, depositing a header into the net. It was only the second shot of the match for Kauai compared to Kamehameha's 11. Eight saves by senior goalkeeper Tamalyn Hasegawa kept the Red Raiders in the game.
For Nagamine and her players, qualifying for the state tournament was almost a bonus. Almost.
"To beat Punahou, the three-time state champion, in a physical and intense game for the ILH title as we did to get here after so many close calls was quite an accomplishment," Nagamine said. "But now that we're here, everyone wants to take it as far as we can."
Baldwin 1, Konawaena 0
The persistence of junior striker Jasmine O'Brien paid off for Baldwin in the second half.
O'Brien lost the ball, won the ball, lost the ball and finally won it back once again during a mad scramble on the right side of Konawaena's penalty area. As she tried to touch the ball forward, she was clearly tripped and the Bears were awarded a penalty kick.
Maintaining her composure while the ball repeatedly blew off the 12-yard stripe as she prepared to attempt a shot, Tylor Kim finally struck her attempt into the left side of the net at the 51:30 mark. It proved to be the only goal in Baldwin's quarterfinal victory over the fourth-seeded Wildcats.
Baldwin goalkeeper Erin Ichimura was credited with seven saves while her teammates, struggling to solve Konawaena's flat-back defense, were whistled for nine offside violations.
Mililani 2, Kaiser 1, OT
The strong and blustery winds that have swept through Kanaiaupuni Stadium have created two games within the same game, according to Mililani coach Ray Akiona.
"You've got to play differently with the wind than you do when against the wind," Akiona said following his team's quarterfinal overtime victory over Kaiser.
"And if it keeps blowing like this, the teams that do the best job of adjusting in each half are the ones who are going to be the most successful."
Actually, Mililani scored the opening goal of the match against the wind -- but with a bit of help when Kaiser's goalkeeper mishandled a shot by senior midfielder Shea Nakasone in the 54th minute. But Kaiser evened the count with 4:55 left in regulation when sophomore Eryn Akazawa unleashed a wind-assisted 30-yard shot.
That set the stage for junior midfielder Natalie Wong's 23-yard bender into the upper right corner at 4:25 of sudden death.
"You can't think of a better way to win," Akiona said. "Natalie is one of the finest midfielders who's come along in a few years. She controls a great deal of space whenever she's on the field."
Kalani 1, Moanalua 0, PK
Call them the Marathon Girls. Kalani was eliminated from title contention after neither team could produce a goal during 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime before falling to Baldwin 1-0 on penalty kicks in Wednesday's late opening-round game.
Just 13 hours later, the Falcons were back on the field for an 11 a.m. consolation bracket game against Moanalua.
Although in total control for much of the match -- outshooting Moanalua 18-4 -- the Falcons again failed to find the net during 80 minutes of regulation play and then needed 12 rounds of penalty kicks to finally secure the consolation bracket victory.
Pearl City 2, King Kekaulike 1
Pearl City scored a pair of first-half goals and then barely held on against fourth-seeded King Kekaulike.
Cheryl Yasumoto scored at 24:17, capitalizing on a poor clearance. Meghan Fuller struck in the 32nd minute, receiving a precise cross from Tawnee Sakima and rifling a 15-yard shot into the left side of the net from the right side of the penalty area.
With the wind at its back, Kekaulike picked up its offensive pace in the second half. Na Alii got on the scoreboard five minutes after the break, when freshman striker Mia Minkler turned a poorly cleared ball into a goal with a six-yard header into an open net.
Minkler appeared to have tied the game in the 78th minute. Her initial shot struck the crossbar and caromed straight down. Minkler then hit the loose ball into the net, but was called for fouling the goalkeeper during the wild scramble.