There can be no doubt about it this time.
Baldwin Bears show
whos best, again
By Tim Crouse
Special to the Star-Bulletin
For the Baldwin girls' soccer team, winning a second consecutive state championship put to rest any doubts about the first one.
"Last year people thought it was a fluke," said senior forward Shawna Shimamura. "We came back this year seeded No. 1 and everyone was out to beat us. We were just trying to prove that we deserved it."
Baldwin defeated Mililani, 2-0, on Saturday night in the championship game at Aloha Stadium.
Senior midfielder Nicole Garbin capped off a superb tournament with two second-half goals.
Baldwin defeated Pearl City, 1-0, to win the 2000 state title. The Bears are the first team since Kamehameha in 1995-96 to win back-to-back championships.
"(This year) was better because we defended our title," said sophomore sweeper Koren Takeyama. "We had to work a lot harder."
Garbin, last year's state player of the year and a three-time Maui Interscholastic League player of the year, said the Bears' goal at the beginning of the 2000 season was to win a state title.
"We posted (that goal) and we said, 'we need to win the state championship,' " Garbin said. "Last year everyone didn't expect us to win.
"This year everyone came out hard at us from the preseason all the way through. It was no fluke this year."
Said senior midfielder Alana Souza: "This was better because we had a lot more pressure on us. I think everyone tried to come out harder against us because we won last year."
The Bears were 7-1-1 in the preseason, went 12-0 in the MIL -- allowing just three goals during the league season -- and earned the top seed for the state tournament.
Souza said there was a difference between being the No. 3 seed in 2000 and the top seed this year.
"It made us feel more confident, because that's giving us more respect and saying that we're supposed to win," she said.
Baldwin beat Kailua, 5-3, in the quarterfinals, but had to come from behind to earn the win.
"The first game against Kailua we all were pretty nervous. But after that everyone stepped it up," Bears' coach Kawika Keator said.
Baldwin downed fourth-seeded Hawaii Prep, 3-0, to reach the final.
"There weren't any butterflies this game," Garbin said. "I had a lot of confidence going into this game, a lot of confidence in this team."
Keator sensed that confidence before the game.
"They weren't even nervous. They knew what they had to do. When they told me, I believed them that they were ready," he said.
The Bears and Trojans battled through a scoreless first half that saw only five shots on goal.
"We thought we had a chance at halftime," Mililani coach James Uson said. "Our goal was to get to the finals and see what happens. We wanted to play as well as we could."
The intensity picked up in the second half, and each team picked up a yellow card in the first eight minutes to go along with one that Garbin received just before halftime.
Baldwin continued to pressure the Mililani defense, and finally broke through 10:30 into the second half.
Souza put a corner kick in front of the net and Garbin headed it just over the outstretched goalie from 12 yards out.
The play worked again at the 70-minute mark -- with a little twist.
Souza booted a corner kick into the middle that Janelle Anoba shot at the goal. The ball rebounded off the crossbar right toward Garbin, who headed it in for her second score.
"It feels better (than last year) because I got to score," Garbin said.
The senior scored six goals in three tournament games.
"Nobody gave us respect last year," said Keator. "We heard, 'Oh, you guys didn't play anybody good.' So this year we had something to prove and I hope we made believers out of some people."
Iolani is looking to repeat, Pearl City is trying to regain the top spot it captured in 1999 and Baldwin attempts to win the school's third state championship in as many weeks.
Pearl City No. 1 seed
in boys tourney
The AT&T Wireless Boys' State Soccer Championships run from Wednesday through Saturday at Aloha Stadium.
Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Pearl City (12-0) is the No. 1 seed for the tournament.
Defending champion Iolani (8-1-3) from the Interscholastic League of Honolulu is the second seed, followed by No. 3 Baldwin (9-0-1) and No. 4 Hilo (12-2).
Mililani, Aiea, Campbell, Kalani, Kamehameha, Hawaii Prep, Kealakehe and Kapaa round out the field.
Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students (grades K-12). All AYSO soccer players (6th grade and below) in uniform will be admitted free.
Hawaii School Web Sites