ALL-STATE BOYS SOCCER
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Punahou's Bob Clague and Nick Love are the Star-Bulletin's coach and player of the year.
Love in line for another award
LOVE doesn't pay the bills, but it sure has its rewards.
For Punahou junior Nick Love, nothing matches the feeling of winning the state boys soccer championship. The forward led the Buffanblu to a 15-2 record and their first state crown since 1996, and was named the boys player of the year by the Star-Bulletin.
"I felt really happy being selected, and proud, but I am surprised because there are so many competitive players out there," said Love, who scored 14 goals in regular-season play and sparked his team in the state championships.
Punahou won the tough Interscholastic League of Honolulu and edged every opponent in the state tourney without dominating them. In the end, the Buffanblu edged rival Iolani in the final.
"Nick did a lot to make that happen. He's such a neat guy," said Love's coach, Bob Clague, who was honored as coach of the year.
Clague's career spans 31 years as head coach at Punahou, and his teams have won state titles in '76, '86, '96 and now, in 2006.
Punahou landed three players on the first team: midfielder Will Jensen, defender Christopher Walker and Love. All three are only juniors, and another classmate, Deryck Lim, was a catalyst in the state tourney. The Buffanblu are the early favorites to repeat in '07.
"It's scary, but it also makes it harder (next year)," Clague said. "I warned them it's going to be a lot harder. I don't think everybody took us that seriously this year."
Love, one of the more laid-back of the Buffanblu, is excited about the challenge.
"I think we're going to have to prove ourselves again and prove that it wasn't luck that we were there. We'll have a lot of returnees. We'll only lose three players, so we'll have a strong team," he promised.
Clague had concerns prior to the season about his young team. His worries were alleviated quite quickly, however, because of his team's overall maturity.
"With only three seniors, you always look to seniors for your leadership. I don't remember having a team with so few seniors. But it worked out pretty well. My concern about leadership was never an issue," he said, crediting co-captains Kyle Ertel and Jensen.
Jensen played through a painful groin injury all season, Clague noted. Preparation in preseason was another key factor.
"The thing that helped us was playing at Hawaii Prep at Thanksgiving. We played three good games against Kamehameha (Hawaii), HPA and Honokaa," he said, recalling a 2-1 loss to Ka Makani. "It was good for team bonding. We weren't as strong as previous years, but over the course of the season, it was true team effort."
"Everybody when he went on the field did his thing. We hung in there every game. I don't recall that we were outplayed by anybody. We had years where we had no breaks, but this year, we got all of them. The regular season was another rough-and-tumble whirlwind.
"You play Kamehameha, then you have Pac-Five, and then you have Mid-Pac, you don't get a breather at all. Our league had five teams worthy of playing (at) states," said Clague, whose normally aggressive offense took a back seat much of the season. Often, Punahou lulled teams to sleep before striking late for winning scores.
"I like to score goals. We'll be a little more aggressive next year," he said. "Last year, our defense leaked like a sieve. It was porous last year and we let in about 20 goals. This year it was 13 in about 17 games."
Seabury Hall, Sr.
Saint Louis, Sr.
||Kelsey Kikugawa, Mililani, Jr.
||Kimo Komomua, Kamehameha, So.
||Morgan Langley, Iolani, Jr.
||Deryck Lim, Punahou, Jr.
||Jamie Whitworth, Radford, Sr.
||Trey Pettee, Kealakehe, Sr.
||Eli Bowman, Honokaa, Sr.
||C.J. Cintas, Hawaii Prep, Sr.
||Danny Marks, Iolani, Jr.
||Vince Cachero, Iolani, Jr.
||Josh Edelo, Mililani, Sr.
||Michael Smith, Mililani, Sr.
Jonathan Baba, Moanalua
Billy Case, Hawaii Prep
Michael Coghlan, Kamehameha-Hawaii
Ken Gibson, Kailua
Keoki Haole, Kapolei
Aaron Inouye, Waiakea
Curtis Kiyabu, Kapolei
Ryan Maltezo, Honokaa
Syd Tom, Leilehua
Mark Atta, Aiea
Matt Bush, Kaiser
Danny Higa, Kalani
Curtis Kiyabu, Kapolei
Dylan Langley, Iolani
Chris Morales, Roosevelt
Gene Okamura, Waiakea
Kenneth Ogata, Moanalua
Kekoa Osorio, Kamehameha
Leon Peralto, Kamehameha-Hawaii
Tyler Bantilan, Kamehameha-Maui
Nick Bartlett, Kealakehe
Taylor Ishikuro, Honokaa
Carter Kam, Kalani
Rezz Louden, Honokaa
Hiroshi Metzker, Iolani
Vaughn Nagamine, Baldwin
Kyle Niiro, Kaiser
David Oliver, Waiakea
Aaronmichael Osborne, King Kekaulike
Mason Puckett, Aiea
Matt Quitiquit, Hawaii Prep
Daniel Tanda, Leilehua
Hiroki Tomita, Roosevelt
Landon Watanabe, Moanalua
Ramsey Yakut, King Kekaulike
Andrew Ackerly, Kealakehe
Nicholas Asman, Kapolei
Tripper Atherton, Hawaii Prep
Dane Fernandez, Baldwin
Bryan Fujiwara, Moanalua
Stephen Fung, Iolani
Andy Luersen, Punahou
Larry Siuta, Farrington
Selections were made by the Star-Bulletin after
consulting with coaches statewide.