HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kamehameha's Kimo Komomua was congratulated by Kainoa Kahui after Komomua scored against Iolani in the HHSAA Championship at Waipio Peninsula Soccer park on Saturday.
Dydasco was key on ‘D’ for champs
Kamehameha knew very well the importance of a strong, well-armed defense.
Most outstanding player: Zane Dydasco, Kamehameha
All-tournament: Blaine Gonsalves, Iolani; Kimo Komomua, Kamehameha; Colin Lund, Mililani; Ryan Ho, Kamehameha; Nicholas Goo, Iolani; Michael Anduha, Mililani; Brock Granger, Iolani; Kevin Fung, Iolani; Kainoa Kahui, Kamehameha; Nicholas Metzker, Iolani; Micah Swain, Kamehameha
MOP: Adam Bailey, Mid-Pacific
All-tournament: Ian Lactaotao, Kapaa; Cody Sullivan, Mid-Pacific; Cameron Castillo, KS-Hawaii; Josiah Motosue, Kauai; Chance Bukoski, Kapaa; Ikaika Fuerte, Kapaa; Kennedy Spencer, Mid-Pacific; Jared Domingo, Mid-Pacific; Marc Obundo, Mid-Pacific; Joe Velasco, Kapaa; Brandt Kuioka, Mid-Pacific; Parker Blaylock, Kapaa.
Andrew Ah New, however, wanted even more. The Warriors coach knew his players so well, there was no hesitation about how to approach Saturday's title match -- an eventual 2-1 penalty-kick win over top-seeded Iolani -- in the JN Automotive Group/HHSAA Boys State Soccer Championships at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park.
For the first time this season, and one of the rare times since he was an age-group player, offensive weapon Zane Dydasco became a defensive spoiler.
That move by Ah New proved to be worth more than all the hope in the world for a program that had won only one boys soccer state crown. Not only did the savvy senior score key goals in the tourney -- his 28-yard bender on a direct kick tied the semifinal match with Kamehameha-Maui in the final minute of regulation -- but he also had several key deflections against Iolani's relentless attack.
Positioned properly all night, Dydasco and his fellow defenders had answers nearly every time Iolani dared to challenge.
The biggest stop came shortly after the Raiders had tied the game at 1 midway through the second half. With momentum on their side, the Raiders moved upfield and found themselves with a numbers advantage inside the box.
At the 53-minute mark, Iolani's high-octane scorer, Blaine Gonsalves, fed a cross to Kevin Fung, whose blast toward the goal was stopped by Warriors goalkeeper Micah Swain.
The ball was kicked so hard, however, that Swain couldn't gather it. Swarming in was Nickolas Goo, who sent a seemingly magic bullet toward the net on the grassy knoll.
Dydasco, who had covered Gonsalves, came all the way across the box and gave up his body to stop Goo's shot. It was more of a Bruce Lee-flying kick defense than anything as the ball ricocheted off Dydasco's leg.
"Unbelievable," Goo said later, still shaking his head.
Iolani could have taken a 2-1 lead, and perhaps its first state title since 2000.
"It could've been ended right there," Goo added. "Zane's a good player. You gotta give it to him."
Dydasco didn't have time to think.
"For some reason, my intuition said, 'Just go for it,' I just saw it and went for it. I guess it was kind of a side volley," he said.
The move from center main to sweeper was welcomed by the senior.
"After our freshman year, when we won states, to senior year, this one means more," Dydasco said. "I got to play more."
"He's played sweeper before, and Iolani has a double (scoring) threat," Ah New said. "He just came out of nowhere on that play. I thought, 'Where did he come from?'"
The Warrior defense stabilized, and Kamehameha's four-day trek to the championship was complete. Ah New was noticeably calm after the match.
"I didn't scream. I didn't smile. I'm all spent. I'm a wreck," he said.
Ah New's even temperament was the right tonic for a veteran squad.
"This is our largest senior class," Ah New said of the 10 Warrior seniors. "The boys came a lot closer this year. They came to trust each other as the season went on. Guys would make mistakes and the other ones would build 'em back up. That helped us in there.
"We missed our first penalty kick, but they didn't put their heads down."
Not far away, Iolani coach Chris Lee was emotionally drained and nearly speechless.
"It's hard to put thoughts together," he said. "We came out hard and we played well once we settled down and got our composure. I'm proud of our kids."
Meanwhile, Mid-Pacific made it an Interscholastic League of Honolulu sweep of the state titles by edging Kapaa 2-1 in penalty kicks for the D-II championship.
"We lost a lot of matches by two or three goals," Owls goalkeeper Adam Bailey said of rugged ILH play against powerhouses like Kamehameha, Iolani and Punahou.
Bailey came up with a key stop during penalty kicks when Glen Miguel sent a shot direct at the goalkeeper's legs.
"I dove the wrong way. Luckily it hit my foot," Bailey said.
Mid-Pac was the only D-II team in the ILH, but an early 1-0 win over Saint Louis at Moanalua's tournament was big confidence booster, Bailey said.
It was the school's first soccer state title. Coach Marc Miranda's savvy and youth could be big plusses as the Owls look forward.
Kapaa's returning All-State forward, Chance Bukoski, kept his head up. He had a key miss during penalty kicks, but saw the bigger picture.
"We weren't seeded. Making it to the finals brought us respect," the senior said.