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Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, December 7, 2000

P R E P _ S O C C E R

State soccer title
will be up for grabs

By Ben Henry
Special to the Star-Bulletin

All the usual suspects will contend for state high school soccer championships this year, and a new team will experience growing pains, coaches and officials say.

Defending state champion Iolani and Mililani appear to be the favorites this season for the boys, along with Punahou, Baldwin, Pearl City and Kamehameha.

"On any given day, one team can be slightly better, but they all could beat each other," said Mililani coach Jeff Yamamoto.

Yamamoto said Punahou is the team to beat this season. "They have speed, size, skill and a great coaching staff," he said.

It should be a dead heat in the race for the girls' title. Last year's finalists, Baldwin and Pearl City, both figure into the mix, as well as Interscholastic League of Honolulu powerhouses Kamehameha and Punahou.

Expansion school Kapolei will debut with boys' varsity and girls' junior varsity teams, both made up entirely of freshmen.

The Oahu Interscholastic Association is the only league in the state that doesn't have a junior varsity program for boys' soccer. That is why Kapolei is forced to compete on the boys' varsity level.

The Hurricane boys face a monumental task right away, as they begin their OIA existence with a game at Mililani tomorrow.

Kapolei's entry might mean a shift in the balance of power in OIA boys' soccer to the East, as perennial contender Moanalua was moved from the West to make room for Kapolei.

The boys' and girls' seasons kick off tomorrow. A look at the teams expected to contend for the state title:


Iolani returns all-state midfielder Travis Watanabe. But the defending state champion loses Seth Lee-Yee, last year's state player of the year.

But before Iolani can compete for the state title, it must first win the ILH title to get to the state tournament. That is no easy task, with the likes of Punahou and Kamehameha as competitors.

With Mililani goalkeeper and last season's player of the year Andrew Brown graduated, his younger brother, junior Thomas Brown, will step in.

Yamamoto, last year's state coach of the year, feels confident in his team, especially with all-state senior midfielder Jarrett Razon returning.


Pearl City failed to exact revenge Sunday in the final of the 16-team Maui High School preseason tournament, losing 1-0 in double overtime by a controversial goal. The Bears beat the Chargers by the same score in last season's state final.

The Maui tournament (which also featured state contenders Kamehameha, Punahou and Iolani) proved that Pearl City and Baldwin are still the state's top two teams. And although Baldwin has come away with two 1-0 victories, both teams are very even

"It's anybody's game, anyone who wants it the most can get it," said Pearl City coach Archie Chung.

Baldwin returns all-state forward Shawna Shimamura, midfielder Nicole Garbin and sophomore defender Koren Takeyama. Pearl City lost all-state forward Pamela Fong to graduation.

But Chung says his team won't be affected.It doesn't hurt that he has all-state goalkeeper Christine Ayers returning.

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