Al Chase Just For Kicks

Al Chase

SMU grabs jewel
of state soccer

Adria Campbell, the 2003 Star-Bulletin All-State Player of the Year, signed a letter of intent to play for defending Western Athletic Conference champ Southern Methodist this fall.

The Punahou striker led the Interscholastic League of Honolulu in scoring the last three years and was instrumental in helping the Buffanblu win the 2003 ILH and state titles. Campbell was selected MVP of this year's state tournament.

"I was highly considering playing for Hawaii. That was my original plan," said Campbell who also drew interest from Nevada, UC Irvine, Southern California and Oregon.

"Then, my HYSA coach, Michele Nagamine, talked to the SMU coach (John Cossaboom) and he invited me for a visit. I just loved it there. The first thing was probably meeting all the girls. They were very hospitable, the nicest people I've ever met. I want to major in business and they have one of the top 20 business schools in the country and their soccer program is in the top 20."

Vito Higgins, the Pac-Five goalkeeper who was an Interscholastic League of Honolulu first-team all star, will take his talents to Gonzaga this fall to keep the Hawaii connection at that position alive as he follows in the footsteps of Mike McCarthy and Josh Fouts.

"Josh actually inspired me to go into goal keeping," said Higgins who hung around Kalaheo practice sessions when he was a youngster and his uncle, Bobby Lerps, was an assistant coach for the Mustangs.

Higgins considered Division II Seattle Pacific and Division II Linfield but opted for Division I Gonzaga where he will receive an athletic/academic scholarship package.

He plans to major in physical therapy or exercise science.

Mari Kasamoto has signed a letter of intent to play for NAIA national power Azusa Pacific. The striker/outside midfielder from Iolani also strongly considered Point Loma Nazarene.

"The decision was really hard. I really thought I was going to Point Loma," said Kasamoto. "But I thought there were better opportunities at Azusa Pacific. The team is much better and the coach is cool."

She will receive a combined academic/athletic scholarship.

John Garibaldi will continue his soccer career the fall at Chapman, an NCAA Division III independent. The Punahou defender also visited two other California schools, UC Irvine and St. Mary's, before making his decision.

"I liked the area where Chapman is located and the academics," said Garibaldi who plans to major in business.

Sheri Wilhelm, a four-year starter at midfield for Hawaii Preparatory Academy, signed to play for NCAA Division II Humboldt State. She was HPA's Most Valuable Player and a first-team Big Island Interscholastic Federation selection the past two years.

Traveling duo

Allison Lipsher, junior goalkeeper from Punahou, and Mariko Strickland, a sophomore midfielder/striker from Mid-Pacific, will be playing with their ODP Region IV teams in the Texas Shootout in Houston Memorial Day weekend.

Lipsher plays for the under 17 team while Strickland is on the under 16 squad.

The three-day tournament is watched by more than 250 college coaches.

Just for Kicks runs every other Sunday in the Star-Bulletin.

Al Chase can be reached at


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