HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Punahou's Fernando Liquido blocked an Iolani pass intended for Dylan Langley last night.
Buffanblu get a little Love on the way to state-title victory over Iolani
Nick Love assists on both of Punahou's goals in the soccer championship win over Iolani
Nick Love delivered two masterful second-half assists as the Buffanblu defeated rival Iolani 2-0 last night to capture the Meadow Gold/HHSAA Boys Soccer State Championships.
Most outstanding player: Nick Love, Pun.
Goal keeper: Andy Luersen, Pun.
Defense: Danny Marks, Iol.; Bryson Tamanaha, Kapo.; Josh Edelo, Mil.
Midfielders: Drew Geis, Kapo.; Daniel Phelps, Lei.; Lee Anderson, Iol.
Forwards: Morgan Langley, Iol.; Deryck Lim., Pun; Curtis Kiyabu, Kapo.
Any position: Will Jensen, Pun.
A robust crowd of 3,000 at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium saw the two Interscholastic League of Honolulu powerhouses battle to a scoreless halftime duel. The second half, with four yellow cards, was a full-tilt fight to the end.
"We really didn't dominate, but we're a counter-attack team," said Will Jensen, who scored Punahou's first goal.
Punahou's second goal came from Deryck Lim. Love, Jensen and Lim, all juniors, have started since their freshman year.
"We bonded as a team and worked together," Love said. "We saw things open up on the back (in the second half). We capitalized today."
Jensen was simply jovial. "We won it because we have these two schmoes," said Jensen, pointing at Love and Lim.
Punahou, the second seed in the tournament as champion of the ILH, finished the season 15-2. Iolani, the ILH runner-up, closed at 14-3-1.
"They have nothing to be ashamed of," Iolani coach Chris Lee said. "Back in January, we basically couldn't afford to lose another game, and this team handled it well. They have a certain stubbornness and refused to give up."
For a second night in a row, Punahou was outshot, but came through in clutch second-half situations.
"To credit Bob's team, in this tourney, they played their best soccer of the year," Lee said of Punahou coach Bob Clague.
Jensen, a 6-foot-3 midfielder, took a pass from Love and scored from in close to give the Buffanblu a 1-0 lead at the 54-minute mark.
"I flicked it with my head across the middle. Nick tried to have a shot, but it came right back to me," Jensen said of Love's accidental assist. "You can say it was a pass. I just slid in."
A minute later, Iolani threatened when Morgan Langley got a clear shot off a miss by a teammate. His 10-yard kick avoided Punahou goalkeeper Andy Luersen, but was cleared by another Buffanblu defender.
Iolani was hit with consecutive yellow cards in a 2-minute span, losing Dylan Langley and Zachary Napier. Within seconds of the second yellow, Punahou took advantage.
Love dribbled at full speed on the left side and served Lim for an easy point-blank goal at the 71-minute mark. That gave Punahou a nice cushion at 2-0.
"It was a great cross from Ben Strand, and Nick did his thing," said Lim, who also scored Punahou's only goal in a last-minute, semifinal win over Kapolei. "We just stuck in there."
In all, Iolani committed 22 fouls to Punahou's 14. The Raiders outshot the Buffanblu 12-9.
Luersen finished with three saves for Punahou.
Iolani 'keeper Stephen Fung finished with five saves.
The yellow cards won't be lamented by Lee, who didn't want to comment on the officiating.
"You can't make excuses. We have a good bench that pushes the starters hard. That's part of the reason why we're successful," he said. "In tight games, small errors make a big difference. Punahou just played a great game."
Mililani 2, Kapolei 1
For a second night in a row, the Hurricanes suffered defeat in the late going. Mililani sophomore Colin Lund scored on a header off a long cross to tie the game at 1 at the 68-minute mark.
Moments later, Michael Smith scored on a penalty kick to give the top-seeded Trojans the lead for good. Smith, the starting goalkeeper, switched positions before scoring the winning goal.
Waiakea 3, Hawaii Prep 2
Aaron Inouye scored two goals midway through the first half as the Warriors hung on to edge their rivals from the Big Island Interscholastic Federation.
Inouye scored at the 14- and 18-minute marks. HPA's C.J. Cintas scored at the 31-minute mark to bring his team within 2-1 at intermission. Ian Watanabe's goal at the 55-minute mark gave Waiakea a 3-1 lead before Korey Tsubota scored at the 65-minute mark to bring Ka Makani within 3-2.
Leilehua 1, Moanalua 1, tie
Daniel Phelps scored to give the Mules a 1-0 lead at the 30-minute mark, but Joey Nakamura tied the game for the Menehunes with a goal at the 56-minute mark.