HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Iolani goalkeeper Lauren Brown, right, stopped a header by Punahou's Lahaina Zoller yesterday.
Iolani-Punahou pointless again
The best part about a likely third meeting between the Iolani and Punahou girls soccer teams is that it can't end in a scoreless tie.
Buffanblu senior Britt Sanford had two shots bounce off the goal post and Iolani goalkeeper Lauren Brown came up with two big second-half saves as the host Raiders and Buffanblu played to their second consecutive 0-0 tie yesterday.
Both teams have identical 8-1-2 records in Interscholastic League of Honolulu play. Kamehameha (9-2) leads the league, which qualifies two teams for the state tournament.
If all three teams win their final regular-season games as expected, Iolani and Punahou will play for a third time in a playoff to decide who receives the ILH's second berth in states.
"Somebody's gotta score at some point," Iolani coach Chris Nied said. "It's two different styles of play, but it seems to make for some great games."
When asked about a possible third match to determine a winner, Nied refused to comment.
"I'm not going there at all," he said. "We have to take care of Pac-Five first."
A week ago, Kamehameha was undefeated and looking to run away with the league title before dropping back-to-back games to the Raiders and Buffanblu. Both teams had a chance to move atop the ILH with a victory, but played their second straight scoreless game against each other.
"Iolani comes at you hard and we knew it would be a fast-paced game," Punahou coach Matt Martinson said. "We had difficulty keeping the ball at our feet."
The Buffanblu did a better job of controlling the ball in the first half, but neither team mounted any serious scoring threats.
That changed in the second half when Sanford took a crossing pass in the box and launched a left-footed kick that bounced off the goal post. A few minutes later, she had another opportunity off of a long throw-in by Aisha Price, but her header glanced off the corner post.
"Personally, I think we were kind of unlucky tonight," Sanford said. "It's always going to be a good game against (Iolani)."
The Buffanblu attempted twice as many shots as the Raiders and forced Brown to come up with five saves in the game. Punahou also had the advantage of having a player in Price who was able to launch throw-ins all the way into the middle of the penalty box.
"Those throw-ins are a major part of their offense and forces us to have to play the whole field," Nied said.
Despite the two scoreless ties, Sanford feels confident in Punahou's ability if the Buffs meet Iolani for a third time.
"If we come out with the desire and play well as a team, the score will take care of itself," she said.