Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, August 11, 2001


Hawaii's Elie Sauma (left) and Francois Rogrs battled
for the ball during the Worldwide Peace Exchange yesterday.

Hawaii Select
splits matches

The local team wins 9-0 then
plays to a 2-2 draw in pool play
of the Xcel Tournament

By Al Chase

The Xcel International Soccer Tournament began yesterday at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park with 12 pool-play matches in hot, humid weather that taxed players and spectators alike despite a steady wind blowing across the complex.

Fighting dehydration was a must even though the matches were scheduled for 30-minute halves.

Teams from around the world are here for the three-day event. Several were accompanied by numbers of enthusiastic supporters and at least three teams had their own cheerleading squads.

The Sky Soccer Team from South Korea also had the backing of Shim Poong, a troupe of traditional dancers decked out in fancy garb who performed with noise-making instruments on the far sideline.

This is a friendship tournament involving mostly club teams. Xcel's goal is worldwide peace through exchange. Teams want to win, but no one wants to embarrass an opponent.

The Hawaii Select Team found itself in that situation in its pool-play opener against San Francisco.

Nick Chapin put Hawaii ahead two minutes into the match with a 15-yarder into the nets. A header by Nick Paraskevopouius and Darren Juliano's goal off a cross from Elie Sauma made it 3-0 before 10 minutes had elapsed. Hawaii would go on to win 9-0.

For much of the second half, Hawaii passed the ball around, up and down the field, working hard not to hit double digits. At one point, the Select players completed 18 consecutive passes without losing control of the ball.

Hawaii's second pool-play match was against a team billed as the Taiwan National Team, aka Tatung Soccer Team.

"They may not be the full national team, but they definitely are a very good team," said Hawaii coach Phil Neddo.

"We gave them a cheap goal early when our keeper, Adam Sthay, let a ball go under his foot. It's happen to every goalie that ever played the game. Not long after that, Adam made a point-blank save and that pulled us back into the game."

Battling to break through a defensive shell with eight players around the goal, Hawaii pulled even before the half.

Turning to a wide game, Hawaii's Orlando Suazo played a ball back to Paraskevopouius who blasted a shot into the lower right-hand corner with five minutes left in the half.

"We were playing too slow, making too many obvious passes and Tatung took advantage and forced a free kick. It went into the box and we failed to track one man who scored from about 13 yards out," Neddo said.

Taiwan again went into a defensive mode, but Neddo countered by putting two speedsters, Tioni Hackney and Kyle Lenahau, on the wings to create havoc. It worked.

The Taiwan goalkeeper punched a Hawaii cross out, but it went right to Chapin who volleyed the ball into the net from 35 yards out for a 2-2 tie.

"It was an unbelievable goal, one of the 10 best I've ever seen," said Neddo.

The final pool-play matches and the quarterfinal round are today.

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