Punahou's Ashley Collins, left, tried to hold off Mililani's Jasmine Pratt as the two battled for control of the ball last night.

Buffanblu defend their
girls soccer championship

It makes sense that Punahou wore blue and Mililani wore black last night, because these two girls soccer teams will be feeling it today.

Intense desire led to many pushes and charges and fallen players, but also to a lot of skilled soccer, and it was fitting that the game went to penalty kicks. After a scoreless tie through regulation and two overtimes, the Buffanblu repeated as Ohana Hotels and Resorts State Girls Soccer champions by winning the shootout 2-1 for a 1-0 victory.

"What a game," Punahou coach Jorge Barbosa said. "With two great teams, it's hard to have a loser. We hated to have to go to PKs because the pressure is so intense for everybody. But we did it, and it was because our defense was so strong. Even at the end, they bent but didn't break."

The Buffanblu ended 13-0 and didn't have a goal scored on them all year in regulation. That's partly because of goalkeeper Allison Lipsher and partly because of the staunch defense, led by Kelsey Baker. They limited Mililani's chances last night, especially in the first half.

Lipsher made the final difference, diving to stop three of Mililani's shots in the shootout.

"It's my senior year and the state championship was on the line, so I had to give it all I had," Lipsher said. "Everyone worked so hard for this. But, oh God, I was nervous during the PKs. You'll never know how I felt, but I was shaking like a little baby. I asked the referee what the situation was before that last shot and he said, 'If you make this save, you win.' "

Goals by Elizabeth Carlson and Ashley Collins gave Punahou a 2-1 edge before Mililani's Melissa Imose stepped up for the final shot. She tried to go high right, but Lipsher was there to make the save and secure the championship.

"Just to be part of this game was something," Trojans coach Ray Akiona said. "This was the best game with high school players I've seen this year. We really couldn't ask for anything more than to just take part in it."

After the Buffanblu's first-half domination, the continuously hustling Trojans finally cracked through for some realistic chances in the second half. With time running out in regulation, Lipsher was a second late in a foot race with Mililani's Shaunna Miyashiro, but she slid to smother the shot as it was being taken. Later, Nicole Harris' 20-yard direct kick whistled across the net right in front of the crossbar.

"We were so pumped up," said Harris, who was still smiling after the loss. "It was my last game and I just wanted to have fun. We got this far and that's a big accomplishment. Every step of the way this year, we were so amped for this and we got here."

The Buffanblu had many second-half chances, but were denied each time by Trojans goalkeeper Ashley Nakamoto.

Punahou peppered Mililani with seven shots in the scoreless first half, but couldn't put it past the dynamic 5-foot-2 Nakamoto. She was helped along by the hustle of Erin Kikumoto, Jasmine Pratt and the Trojans' other fullbacks. The Buffanblu's Rachael Lau, Allison Tsuchida, Kristie Sagara and Danielle Kusaka all threatened from in close, but Nakamoto continued to smother everything sent her way.

Pearl City 1, Aiea 0
The Chargers earned third place, but it wasn't an easy accomplishment in an intense, evenly played match against their Oahu Interscholastic Association West rivals.

Blessing Drumeller scored the game-winner from 10 yards out in the 64th minute for Pearl City (12-4-1).

Na Alii finished their season 14-3. They took fourth place after finishing third a year ago.

Baldwin 5, Kailua 1
Kami Kapaku scored twice for the Maui Interscholastic League champion Bears in the fifth-place game. Maris Van Der Lee, Lauren Amano and Kristi Tintiancgo added one goal each.

Jenna-Lei Weall had the only goal for Kailua (11-4-2), which took sixth.

Kauai 5, Waiakea 0
Amber Thomas scored two first-half goals for the Kauai Interscholastic Federation champion Red Raiders (9-1-1), who finished in seventh place by winning the consolation championship game against the Warriors.


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