HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
Swann saves the day
Chelsea Swann helps the Warriors avoid penalty kicks and take the OIA Red
The Kapolei girls soccer team didn't need penalty kicks to decide the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Division championship game against Pearl City.
But it was close.
With about 30 seconds to play in the second overtime, the Hurricanes' Chelsea Swann kneed in the winning goal off a deflection, giving Kapolei its first OIA girls soccer title with the 1-0 victory.
It was uncharted territory for the Kapolei girls after their quarterfinal victory on penalty kicks over Kaiser. They followed it up by taking down powerhouse Mililani in the same fashion in the semifinals, and last night's back-and-forth game appeared to be headed in the same direction.
But head coach Brian Beck knew his team had a shot just moments before the end of the second extra period.
"I think in a game of ebb and flow, I think that we put a lot of pressure on Pearl City toward the end," Beck said after gathering his team in a postgame prayer. "It looked like we were getting tired, but we kept the momentum going. I told them, 'Hey, everything you got, I want you to throw it right at the net.' "
Freshman forward Kristina Behrens broke free up the right sideline, then crossed a ball at the far post. The Chargers goalkeeper deflected the ball out, but couldn't get a handle on it.
Swann, in prime position, soared in and kneed the ball while in midair a few feet in front of the goal line.
"I was so happy, I didn't know it was going to go in, I just saw it bounce off of (the Pearl City keeper) and I was scared," said Swann, a sophomore.
But then she saw it fall through and cheered with her teammates.
Said Beck, "Chelsea's a battler. She's short, but her heart is so tall."
Pearl City kept the most pressure to start the second half, with several chances that sailed wide or directly to Hurricanes goalkeeper Ashlee Dela Cruz.
Dela Cruz also made an impressive save at the midway point of the final overtime to keep her team in it.
"That's' the way the ball bounces," said Pearl City coach Frank Baumholtz III. "Kapolei has a good team, they improved during the year. That's why we got here (to double overtime). Murphy's Law."