Defense, patience carry
Iolani to victory
over Pac-Five

It isn't entirely by design that the Iolani boys soccer team has put a lot of stock in staying patient this season.

"Slowly the goals are coming, but if you play hard and play good defense, you can at least get a tie -- zero-to-zero -- and that's better than a loss," said Iolani junior halfback Kirtus Adams. "It (patience) is a key to our game. We stay patient and we don't panic, and that's the sign of a good defense. And defense wins championships."

Defense again carried Iolani yesterday afternoon in its hard-fought 1-0 victory over Pac-Five in a key Interscholastic League of Honolulu encounter. The win helped the Raiders (4-0-1) keep pace with Kamehameha atop the ILH. The teams tied in their first meeting and will meet again later in the season. Pac-Five fell to 3-1, but has both of its games with Kamehameha remaining as well as a rematch with the Raiders on Jan. 30.

"We played them (Pac-Five) in the Hawaii Prep (preseason tournament) championship and beat them 2-0, so we knew what we were up against," Iolani coach Ric Miller said. "(Pac-Five coach) Pan (Smith) and I have been friends for a long time, so there aren't many secrets (between the teams). They play clean, they play hard, and so do we, so it's a wonderful game when we get together. This is going to be a good rivalry."

In a game that saw just nine total shots on goal (five by Iolani, four by Pac-Five), the lone tally came 14 minutes into the second half when Iolani's Chris Faulkner converted a penalty shot after the Wolfpack had been whistled for tripping.

"I'm not sure if the ball was in the box or not -- but if it was in the box, the referee made the correct call," Pac-Five coach Nawapan Smith said. "From my view, I think it was legit."

Faulkner beat Pac-Five goalkeeper Reid Woodward with a low shot to the left side of the net for the score. Woodward, who got the start in place of Pac-Five's regular goalkeeper Eben Hellekson, had left the game briefly with a cut under his right eye suffered while tracking down a ball, but returned moments before Iolani was awarded its penalty kick.

Hellekson was out of town and had missed practices heading into the game.

"I decided right when I looked up that (low and to the left) was probably the best idea," Faulkner said. "He gave a good try -- there isn't much you can do in his situation (to defend a penalty shot) -- and it worked out. The goals haven't been coming, so we've been focused on team play and defense. Our defense held down the fort today, so we're happy about this game. They did a great job back there."

Faulkner credited teammate Dyrk Teramae with a brilliant individual effort to draw the call.

"It was pretty much his (Teramae's) goal; I just put it in," Faulkner said. "He dribbled through three guys and did an awesome job of getting into the box, and that's what we've been practicing all week -- taking people on -- and that's what we needed to do."

Faulkner was a halfback for the Raiders last season, but was shifted to forward this year in a move that continues to pay dividends for Miller.

"He's an outstanding player," Miller said. "We moved him to forward (from midfield) because we weren't getting enough offensive punch. He gives us a threat up there -- you always have to keep an eye on him."

Pac-Five's best scoring opportunity came inside of the game's final three minutes when a deflected attempt to re-direct a corner kick grazed the right post as Iolani goalkeeper Stephen Fung moved from his left to his right.

Despite the loss, Smith remained upbeat.

"I don't want to make excuses because we knew we were going to be in for a tough game no matter what," he said. "We'll just have to wait and see the second round."


E-mail to Sports Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --