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Goo leads 'Iolani to title


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POSTED: Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nick Goo was more than good.

Playing with a hairline fracture of his collarbone, the sterling junior forward had two goals and two assists as the 'Iolani Raiders ended a nine-year title drought with a 5-2 win over Mililani last night in the final of the JN Automotive Group/HHSAA Boys Soccer Division I state championship.

A crowd of nearly 4,000 watched top-seeded 'Iolani (14-0-1) win its eighth state crown and its first under coach Chris Lee. It was a sweet moment for Lee, whose team finished second last year. 'Iolani had reached the final in five of the last nine state tournaments.

“;With all those seniors from last year gone, every one of our returnees had to step it up,”; said Lee, who was promptly drenched between sentences by an ice-water, Gatorade cooler bath from his players. “;Technically, last year's team was more talented, but this team was more balanced.”;

The Raiders reached the title match after defeating Roosevelt 4-0 and Kapolei 3-1.

Mililani, the No. 2 seed, closed the season 14-2-2 under coach Jeff Yamamoto.

'Iolani senior Brock Granger was there for several of 'Iolani's heartbreaking finishes. He knew Mililani, which had some missing players in a nonconference loss to 'Iolani, would be fully loaded.

“;They're a typical OIA team. They kick the long ball,”; Granger said. “;We were pretty consistent. We bump heads sometimes, but we end up on top.”;

Jordon Lee, a freshman, played an integral part in the win with the first goal of the match.

“;I was sitting in the stands last year,”; he said of 'Iolani's loss to Kamehameha. “;That was heartbreaking.”;

Lee's chip shot on a feed from Keith Lum came at the 14-minute mark.

Four minutes later, Cory Nakagawa's throw-in was on target, giving Ryan Yoneda an easy goal to tie the match at 1-all.

The Raiders regained the lead on another goal by Lee on an assist by Goo at the 23-minute mark.

“;I was lucky to be able to turn the corner, and Jordon was in the right spot,”; Goo said.

Five minutes later, Aaron Yokoyama's 20-yard blast tied the match at 2-all.

'Iolani had a stunning 12-3 edge in shots on goal in the first half.

An onslaught against one of the state's best defenses took hold in the second half. Goo hustled after the ball on a wild play at goal, heading in a loose ball to give 'Iolani a 3-2 lead at the 46-minute mark. The Trojans objected to the sequence, which began when Trojan Jeff Malavong went down after a mid-field collision.

“;Brock sent a nice ball from the left and I was camping at the goal. I was lucky to get the head in,”; Goo said.

Goo continued to work, fighting off tight defense by Ryan Fronda. Both kicked the ball loose about eight yards from goal on the left side of the box, and Goo went airborne to boot a line drive to the right side of the net, beyond the reach of goalkeeper Preston Miyashiro.

Goo's spectacular play gave 'Iolani a 4-2 lead at the 65-minute mark.

A minute later, 'Iolani fullback Reid Sakamoto threaded through two defenders before Mililani's big defender, Westin Alcover, popped him off his feet. Alcover drew a red card and was booted from the match.

At the 70-minute mark, Goo delivered an assist to sophomore Patrick Shimoko for a clear 18-yard shot to net, and 'Iolani had a comfortable 5-2 lead.

'Iolani's previous state title came in 2000 under coach Myles Arakawa.

Mililani won four state titles in 2001-04 under Yamamoto.