D-II BOYS STATE SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
Meier hustles Owls past Warriors and into title game
He isn't a giant among men, but as far as the Mid-Pacific Owls are concerned, Rex Meier may as well be Tyrannosaurus Rex.
State Boys Soccer
At Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park
Kauai 1, Kahuku 0
Seabury Hall 2, Hawaii Prep 1
Kapaa 2, Honokaa 1
Mid-Pacific 1, Kamehameha-Hawaii 0
Christian Liberty vs. Kailua, 4 p.m., field 9
Kauai vs. Seabury Hall, 4 p.m., field 10
Kamehameha-Hawaii vs. Honokaa, 2 p.m., stadium
Kapaa vs. Mid-Pacific, 6 p.m., stadium
The diminutive sophomore hustled for the only goal of the game at the 60-minute mark as Mid-Pacific edged Kamehameha-Hawaii 1-0 in the Division II semifinals of the JN Automotive/HHSAA Boys Soccer State Championships yesterday at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex.
Dry weather -- with a tiny bit of sprinkling -- prevailed for all the D-II matches, which were played on the outlying fields that had been flooded just 24 hours earlier.
In today's Division II final, Mid-Pacific (8-6-1) will face Kapaa, which got past Honokaa 3-2.
Meier used his superior reflexes and craftiness to eke out the goal, which came on a throw-in.
"He looks like a seventh-grader," MPI coach Marc Miranda said of the forward. "For some reason, when there's a throw-in, he's usually at the end of it."
Meier, humble and efficient with his words, didn't think a whole lot about his big play.
"I know I'm small, but being small is an advantage. I knew I had contacted the ball, and I saw the goalie get a hand on it," he said of his fourth game of the season.
It wasn't just Meier, of course, who pushed the Owls into the title match. Goalkeeper Adam Bailey, a 6-foot-3 senior, had five saves in the shutout. MPI's defensive work was focused.
"They're every bit as good as they were billed to be," Miranda said of the Warriors. "No. 10 (Cameron Castillo), gosh, he can throw it in 40 yards without flipping. He's an offensive weapon. And No. 9 (Kaahukane Leite-Ah You) has great height. He's good in the air. We had to front him."
Miranda was hoping for a chance to coach against his father, Honokaa's Maurice Miranda. The two have coached against each other just once, at last year's Hawaii Prep tournament.
Kapaa 2, Honokaa 1
The Warriors (8-1-1) struck early with a goal by Dylan James at the 2-minute mark and another by Ikaika Fuerte at the 10th minute.
Honokaa switched to a 3-4-3 offense, adding an extra forward, and Rogelio Maltezo scored at the 64-minute mark. However, the Warriors hung on to reach the state final for the first time.
"It's a great feeling. It's our goal to get there, and ultimately, to win it," said third-year head coach Kevin Cram. Last year's team finished seventh in the tourney, but this season's squad is loaded with third-year lettermen.