HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kekoa Osorio of Kamehameha kept Nicholas Love of Punahou at bay during yesterday's ILH match.
Warriors take charge of ILH
Kamehameha beats Punahou in a battle of unbeaten squads
Kamehameha turned yesterday's showdown with Punahou into a statement game of its own.
Kekoa Osorio broke a scoreless tie with a goal in the 50th minute and Gareth Gomez added another score in the 65th minute as the Warriors knocked off the Buffanblu 2-0 yesterday in a battle of the last two undefeated boys soccer teams in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu.
Kamehameha (7-0-1) took a half-game lead over Punahou (7-1-1) in the ILH. The Warriors have two games left to play and the Buffanblu have one. The league champion earns an automatic berth into the state tournament, and the runner-up has to play a playoff game with the Maui Interscholastic League runner-up for another berth.
The boys state tournament is Feb. 14-17 at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park.
"We've still got two more games to go, but this definitely puts us in a good position," Kamehameha coach Andrew Ah New said.
The Warriors took twice as many shots on goal as the Buffanblu did in the first half, but couldn't put the ball past Punahou goalkeeper Andy Luersen as the game remained scoreless at halftime.
"Coach said (at halftime) we were playing well," Osorio said. "We just needed to stay patient and not force the ball into areas."
The Warriors turned up the tempo in the second half and really started testing Luersen.
Kamehameha's David Obando took advantage of an error by the Punahou defense, and nearly scored 5 minutes into the half, forcing Luersen to make a diving save.
Just a few minutes later, Osorio took a ball at midfield and dribbled down the middle before cutting back on a Punahou defender and ripping a shot past Luersen for the first goal.
"I was just looking for an opening," Osorio said. "Coach always tells us to take shots when you can because anything can happen and I got one in."
Punahou's best chance at a goal came almost immediately after Osorio scored, as Christopher Chang just missed wide right on a shot after the Kamehameha goalkeeper got caught out of position. It was one of the few shots Punahou had all game.
"We just got outplayed, simple as that," Punahou coach Bob Clague said. "They outhustled us, beat us to the ball and were a far better team today. It was just a poor performance on our part."
Gomez put the game out of reach with a goal off a pass from Kimo Komomua in which he was able to drill the ball between two defenders and past the goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead.
"We came away with the goals we needed, but I also thought we lost our composure after we scored and were playing too much to the crowd," Ah New said.
This was the second meeting between the two schools in the regular season. They played to a 2-2 tie in the first game, but the Warriors were without Osorio, who was busy playing for a national team on the mainland.
"I really was looking forward to this game, especially because I missed the last one," Osorio said. "My teammates took care of business without me and I was just glad to be out here and be a part of this win."
Punahou's Nicholas Love, who entered the game leading the league in scoring, was held to just one shot attempt.
Knights advance behind PKs
Castle beat Leilehua 4-2 on penalty kicks to oust the Mules 1-0, at Moanalua High School in the opening round of the Oahu Interscholastic Association girls soccer tournament yesterday.
Aili MacDonald, Johnde Franks, Britt Honma and Tami Kalaiwaa found the net for the Knights in the shootout.
The top six teams in the tournament earn an automatic berth for the HHSAA state championships, so all four quarterfinal winners in today's matches qualify. Two quarterfinal losers will also advance through consolation play to earn berths on Wednesday.
Kalaheo 3, Aiea 2
The Mustangs (5-3-5) defeated Na Alii behind a pair of goals from Kahili Cheng. Kayleigh Paulin's goal proved to be the winning margin. Kalaheo squares off today against top West seed Mililani.
Kapolei 4, Kahuku 0
Four players scored for the Hurricanes (8-2-3) to lead Kapolei into the next round, a 5:15 p.m. match against No. 2 East seed Kaiser.
Moanalua 7, Waianae 1
Naomi Shimabuku scored a hat trick to lead Na Menehune (7-3-3) into the quarterfinals against Pearl City (9-1-2 ).