OIA BOYS SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
Mililani beats Roosevelt for 11th title
With a swarming defense and opportunistic offense, the disappointment of the 2006-07 season blew away on a blustery, chilly night in Mililani.
Colin Lund and Robert Uemoto scored goals and Ryan Wert sparked a relentless defense as Mililani blanked Roosevelt 2-0 last night to capture the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference crown. A crowd of about 500 at John Kauinana Stadium saw the Trojans capture their 11th league title -- 10 under coach Jeff Yamamoto. Lund and Wert gave Yamamoto a little bonus -- a complete Gatorade shower to make it a night he won't forget.
"This means everything to us. We played well overall last year, but it didn't work out for us," Yamamoto said, noting that it was Roosevelt that ended Mililani's state tournament hopes a season ago. "It feels good to redeem ourselves."
To get past one of the state's hottest teams, Mililani relied on Wert to help contain Leslie Nwapa, a 6-foot-3 halfback with breathtaking speed.
"We had a game plan going into the game, but once we started, we realized we had to change," Yamamoto said. "We had to stop 30 (Nwapa) and 8 (Keenan Seguancia). We told Ryan, 'Don't lose that guy!' (Nwapa) is still just an unbelievable player."
The Trojans had seven shots on goal and kept Roosevelt keeper Jay Tsuruoka extremely busy. Roosevelt managed only two shots on goal.
Lund, a 6-foot-1 senior, connected on a 27-yard blast at the 9-minute mark to open the scoring.
"That was a good pass from Alex Gustafson. I cut it back and it sunk over (Tsuruoka). He's a good keeper," Lund said.
Roosevelt's best shot came on a miss by Seguancia on a 24-yard direct kick at the 17-minute mark.
Mililani missed on other scoring opportunities before intermission. Tsuruoka deflected a shot by Ryan Pena, and at the 24-minute mark, Ken Hayashi's header from 10 yards out ricocheted off the cross bar. The Trojans then missed twice on give-and-go plays in the box before Gustafson was taken down at point-blank range just before the break. However, the senior was high on his penalty kick and Roosevelt trailed by just one goal going into the second half.
At the 46-minute mark, though, Uemoto broke away on the right side and rocketed a shot from 22 yards out.
"One of the coaches told me to keep the ball on the ground," Uemoto said. "The keeper's gonna have a hard time getting to the ball 'cause (the ground) is muddy."
Tsuruoka converged and stopped the ball momentarily, but it snuck away and rolled slowly into goal for a 2-0 Mililani lead.
"It was weird. I got the ball and going down, I heard the guy's footsteps behind me," the sophomore said. "So I took a shot and it went in."
The rest of the match was controlled by the Trojans, though a direct kick from midfield by Seguancia bounced once and glanced off the crossbar at the 65-minute mark.
In the end, the Rough Riders (7-6-2) credited their foes.
"It hurts in the sense that we lost, but it'll make us stronger when we go back to practice," Nwapa said. "I think Mililani is a talented team and they deserved the win. They were beating us to the ball and being more aggressive. I have to applaud them on their season."
Roosevelt, with just four seniors, is among six OIA teams that qualified for the Division I state tournament.
"Mililani is much deeper than us," coach Ed Ota said. "It was a fabulous (OIA) season. Being the East No. 5 and getting here was hard to do."
The Trojans allowed just one goal in three playoff games against Moanalua, Kalaheo and Roosevelt. Yamamoto, in his 14th season as head coach, hinted that the time for retirement is nearing.
"I'm looking forward to states. This is a huge honor for us to win this," he said.
Kahuku 1, Farrington 0
Noble Crowell's fifth goal of the postseason gave the Red Raiders their first OIA title.
Crowell's goal 3 minutes into the second half and a stingy Red Raider defense were the difference as the OIA awarded a boys White Division crown for the first time.
Crowell scored five goals in the regular season, then had two in Kahuku's quarterfinal and semifinals wins over Waipahu and McKinley and added another yesterday.
Kahuku's defense, meanwhile, continued its shutout streak. The Red Raiders haven't given up a goal since Jan. 5 against Kailua. The Red Raiders outscored their playoff opponents 7-0.
Kahuku will have the OIA's seeded berth in the Division II state tournament set for Feb. 6-9 at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park.