Kamehameha cruises into state final
POSTED: Saturday, February 07, 2009
Kamehameha chipped away at King Kekaulike's defense until the Warriors' frenetic pace and relentless offensive attack subdued Na Alii 2-0 in the semifinal round of the Division I Hawaii High School Athletic Association/JN Automotive Group girls state soccer championships last night at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex.
The Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion and top-seeded Warriors move on to face ILH runner-up Punahou tonight in the tournament's championship match scheduled for 7 at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex's main stadium.
Kamehameha (12-0-2) outshot King Kekaulike, the Maui Interscholastic League runner up, 28-6. But Na Alii goalkeeper Melanie Dickson stifled the progressively frustrated Warriors, and kept King Kekaulike (13-3-1) in the match.
"King Kekaulike was a very high-pressure team, and we usually do pretty well against high-pressure teams, but they had a lot of energy," said Kamehameha coach Michele Nagamine. "They were well prepared, and they knew exactly what to expect. They did what they were supposed to do and that in turn affected us."
In the match's 26th minute, Warriors forward Gabriella Yates went one-on-one with Dickson just inside the 6-yard goal area. But it was the keeper who emerged with the ball, and preserved the tie with the key save.
Eight minutes later, Kamehameha's Meleana Shim had a shot attempt blocked and collected the rebound, only to be stuffed again by Dickson, who corralled the line drive as it headed toward the lower corner of the goal.
Yates had another unobstructed shot on goal as the first half wound down, but her bouncing shot went right into the arms of a waiting Dickson, and the first period ended in a scoreless tie.
"When Melanie is up to her game, she'll keep us in it," King Kekaulike coach Gundi Dancil said.
The Warriors finally broke through with a goal in the 54th minute as Amber Fuller received a quick pass from Carly Neal. She popped the ball up and over a rapidly approaching Dickson. The keeper had to come out and challenge the shot, though, and it was Fuller's soft touch that allowed Kamehameha to take the 1-0 advantage.
"When you have such high expectations of yourself and you want to do well, and things don't have the rhythm you would like, it does affect you mentally," Nagamine said. "So we told the kids at halftime to just relax and don't take the weight of the world upon your shoulders. You had one bad half, so don't make it bigger than it really is."
Kamehameha got some breathing room in the 67th minute as Kapualani Entendencia redirected a ricochet off Dickson to put the Warriors up 2-0. As the goalie tried to recover from the initial block coming on a cross, Entendencia played the carom perfectly, and deposited the loose ball into the back of the net.
"We did scout when we watched Kamehameha play the other day, and we knew they were a tough team," Dancil said. "What we did was offset their strength by using our offensive speed to (counter) their speed up front. They have a good squad, and a lot of strong players, so we told our girls to put it on the line; we had nothing to lose out here."
A win tonight would give Kamehameha its fourth consecutive state crown, a feat that Nagamine and her squad have been feeling the pressure of carrying out all season.
"The one thing that people don't think about is that there's so much pressure on the kids," Nagamine said. "Everybody's talking about four state championships, and you know what, it doesn't really matter because it's a big game for them. We've been so blessed as a team to be a part of something special. If it happens, it happens, if it doesn't then I would be glad that somebody else would get to experience just a part of what we've had the chance to enjoy for three years."
Punahou 3, Mililani 2 (PKs)
Following two scoreless sudden-death overtime periods, Aisha Price lifted Punahou over Mililani in penalty kicks, 4-3, in the evening's second semifinal.
The Buffanblu advance to face ILH champion Kamehameha tonight at 7 in the tournament championship match. The squads met twice in the regular season, with both matches ending in ties.
Punahou jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Price's header in the match's 14th minute.
But Mililani countered 13 minutes later as Breeanna Locquiao looped a cross into the goal area to a waiting Sasha Moscatello, who headed the pass into the net and knotted the score at 1.
The Buffanblu turned to Price again, this time utilizing the senior's powerful throw-in capabilities. With 6 minutes before halftime, Price launched a throw-in that goalkeeper Rosie Nakata could not handle, and Punahou took a 2-1 advantage after one period.
However, Kaitlyn Holt tied the match at 2 with a clutch goal in the match's final 2 minutes.
Division I consolation
Kapolei 2, Hilo 0
Kaili Bonn and Taylar Corprew each scored a goal to lead the Hurricanes past the Vikings in the consolation semifinals.
Kamehameha-Maui 3, Kasier 2
Makana Pundyke scored two goals as the Warriors defeated the Cougars.
Kamehameha-Maui moves on to face Kapolei in the consolation finals.
Pac-Five 1, Kauai 0
Courtne-Cree Aponte scored the only goal as the Wolf Pack defeated the Red Raiders to reach today's final.
Kapaa 2, Kailua 0
Dakota Barnett and Kalia Mayer each scored a goal for the Warriors to upset the No. 1- seeded Surfriders in the semifinals.
Division II consolation
Kamehameha-Hawaii 10, Radford 0
Pua Hall scored four goals as the Warriors dominated the Rams.
Honokaa 3, Hawaii Prep 2
The Dragons scored three goals in the first half to defeat Ka Makani.