HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Punahou's Will Jensen hugged teammate Deryck Lim after Lim's goal in the final minute gave the Buffanblu a 1-0 victory over Kapolei in the state semifinals yesterday.
Punahou puts away Kapolei
For 79 minutes, Kapolei looked the part of a state champion.
After 80 minutes, however, it was the Punahou Buffanblu winning a role in the final. Deryck Lim scored from 10 yards out in the final minute of play to lift Punahou over Kapolei 1-0 last night in the semifinals of the Meadow Gold/HHSAA Boys Soccer State Championships.
HHSAA Boys Soccer
At Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park
Seeds: 1. Mililani. 2. Punahou. 3. Kamehameha-Maui. 4. Waiakea.
11: Waiakea 3, Kaiser 0
12: Hawaii Prep 3, Kamehameha-Maui 1
At the Main Stadium
13: Punahou 1, Kapolei 0
14: Iolani 1, Mililani 0, OT
15: Moanalua vs. Leilehua, field 7, 4 p.m.
16: Hawaii Prep vs. Waiakea, field 8, 4 p.m.
At the Main Stadium
17: Kapolei vs. Mililani, 6 p.m.
18: Punahou vs. Iolani, 8 p.m.
A pensive, often frustrated crowd of about 2,000 at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium saw Kapolei dominate much of the battle. However, the Hurricanes managed to come up empty on 14 shots on goal.
In the final minute, a fatigued Kapolei defense was unable to cover enough ground when the ball scooted ahead to Lim. "The ball was coming. I tried to play a 1-2 with Nick (Love). The ball just came back and I kicked it," the junior forward said.
Kapolei coach Bryce Kaneshiro gave the Buffanblu credit for the clutch play.
"It wasn't a cheap one. It was a scoring opportunity and they made the most of it," he said. "We were worried about their transition, and they transitioned us."
Punahou (14-2), the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion, plays Iolani for the crown tonight at 8. The Buffanblu have won 14 state championships, the last in 1998. The Raiders have captured seven state crowns, the most recent in 2000.
Kapolei (13-2), the Oahu Interscholastic Association runner-up, will play Mililani in the 6 p.m. third-place matchup.
The relatively young Buffanblu, who had just nine shots on goal, were both relieved and joyful after the dramatic win. Kapolei, a big, skilled squad that includes nine seniors, became the latest among Punahou's last-minute victims this season. Just about every Hurricane player slumped to the grass in anguish as the final whistle blew.
"Whatever happens tomorrow, it's all gravy," Punahou coach Bob Clague said, admittedly unsure about how Punahou scored its winning goal. "The timing was perfect. The goalkeeper came, the fullback came through. Everything happened so fast."
The veteran coach credited fullback Alex Ho for a superlative performance.
"It's a team game, but Alex had great positional play, excellent distribution," Clague said. "I thought he played a perfect game."
The Hurricanes left the stadium in utter shock and silence.
"I thought we had it. We had tons of opportunities, especially on the throw-ins," Kaneshiro said. "I thought we'd get two or three in. Right now, it's the worst feeling, but I'm proud of the guys. They left their hearts on the field."
Punahou had not faced Kapolei since preseason of last year, when Kapolei won 5-4.
"I feel lucky. Why shouldn't I admit that?" Clague asked. "They had more shots, but they were all over the place. Our defense did well."
The Buffanblu's conservative gameplan was one reason why Kapolei seemed to have constant action on its offensive end. Punahou eventually adjusted.
"On the outside edge, we felt we weren't putting enough pressure on their fullbacks," Clague noted. "I took a chance. A tie doesn't help you now."
Iolani 1, Mililani 0, OT
Morgan Langley scored off a cross from Lee Anderson 5 minutes into overtime to end a lengthy battle.
With a third win in three days, Iolani (14-2-1) advances to the final and will meet its ILH rival, Punahou.
Mililani (11-2-1), champion of the OIA, will play Kapolei for third place.
Iolani had a multitude of scoring opportunities, but Mililani's defense weathered the storms. Trojan goalkeeper Michael Smith stopped Zachary Napier's short try at the 62-minute mark.
Four minutes later, Ian Watson's attempt caromed off the crossbar, denying Iolani once again.
In overtime, Mike Hirokawa's blast from 35 yards out ricocheted off the crossbar and it seemed the Raiders were simply hamstrung. However, 3 minutes later, Langley came through.
"My first instinct was to stay onsides because I'm always offsides," Langley said. "I saw Mike (Smith) coming over. I wanted to go bottom left, but he shifted there. I tried to go down the middle with a spin, and the ball hit his leg and went in."