Kamehameha's Dustin Engle (11) battled Pac-5's Doug Morrison for the ball during yesterday's game.

Kamehameha earns
state tourney berth

Pac-Five's boys soccer players desperately wanted it to be their day, but it wasn't.

Just like a year ago, Kamehameha is headed to the state tournament and Pac-Five isn't. This time, the Warriors proved without a doubt that they belong in the tournament field by outplaying the Wolfpack in a 3-0 Interscholastic League of Honolulu playoff victory yesterday.

Both teams finished behind Iolani (10-0-4), tied for second in the ILH standings. Yesterday's playoff at Saint Louis School was for the league's second state berth.

"We thought it was going to be a lot closer," said Kamehameha coach Andrew Ah New, whose team improved to 10-2-3. "We're usually a second-half team, so we were happy to get two goals in the first half. Pac-Five, I thought, actually played better than us in the second half and we were a little spooked."

Last year, the Wolfpack (9-3-3) finished second in the ILH, but didn't make the postseason because of a rule keeping teams that draw players from more than one school out of the state tourney. The Warriors, who finished third, qualified for states instead. That rule was abolished last June.

"I don't think everybody was feeling it," Wolfpack striker Jeremy Wittig said. "We weren't ready to play. Kamehameha came out more confident and knew what they had to do."

Midfielder David Gualdarama led the Warriors' attack with two goals. He was also instrumental in controlling the flow of play with his touch and deft passing and trapping ability.

"There was a lot of team support today," Gualdarama said. "When I get the ball, they know to come toward me and I give it to them. That's my job."

Gualdarama's first goal in the 24th minute came from 12 yards out, into the low right corner. The shot jumped off his foot so quick that Pac-Five goalkeeper Reid Woodward only had time to take a quick stab at it with his left foot.

Unfortunately for the Wolfpack, an own-goal made it 2-0 in the 39th minute, just before the half. Gualdarama started the play with a pass to Randall Haraguchi on the right wing, and Haraguchi's cross bounded off a Pac-Five defender and into the low right corner.

"Once they got that own-goal, our morale went way down," Wittig said.

Gualdarama made it 3-0 in the 75th minute. This time, he made a quick, casual trap from 40 yards out and quickly nailed a high one over the head of Wolfpack backup keeper Eben Hellekson.

Woodward, who moved up in the second half, had Pac-Five's best scoring chance, but his point-blank shot went high after a cross from Wittig.

"I'm not going to make excuses," Wolfpack first-year head coach Nawapan Smith said. "We weren't on top of our game and we weren't clicking, plain and simple. This was probably one of our worst games; we hadn't been blown out all year.

"It's always heartbreaking when you lose a game like this, especially for our seniors."

The Warriors continue their season in the state tournament's opening round Wednesday.

"We have a decent team and have a good chance to show well in the states," Ah New said.


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