Waimea pulls rug out
from under Mililani


Sunday, February 13, 2005

» Waimea soccer player Chad Thompson was misidentified as Chad Johnson on Page B4 of Friday's Star-Bulletin.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at corrections@starbulletin.com.

PUKALANI, Maui » You could call it a Menehune and Goliath story. Waimea, a team that had played all of seven matches this season, pulled off the biggest upset in the Meadow Gold Dairies Boys Soccer State Championship history with a 3-2 victory over four-time defending champion Mililani.

Trojans co-coach Jeff Yamamoto was the first to note that there was nothing flukish about Waimea's stunning victory yesterday at the Kamehama-Maui Stadium.

"In the first half, they totally owned us. We lost every 50-50 ball. In the air, we didn't win a thing," Yamamoto said.

Their nickname notwithstanding, the Menehune were the bigger and stronger team. But it was the smallest player on its roster, 5-foot-5 junior forward Chad Johnson, who did most of the damage.

Johnson scored two goals, at 27:30 and again at 46:06. The second one was off a rebound after having his penalty kick blocked by Mililani goalkeeper Chris Burt, giving Waimea a 2-0 lead.

"I'm proud of the way our boys got back into it," Yamamoto said.

Cheyne Eugenio got back a goal for Mililani at 51:10, but Waimea almost instantly responded on an opportunistic shot by Joshua Cabral, who lobbed the ball over the charging goalkeeper from close range at 52:48 for a 3-1 lead.

Mililani closed to within a goal on Todd Sorbin's strike at 63:20, but never seriously tested Waimea goalkeeper Justin Estes the rest of the way. And when the final whistle sounded, it touched off a wild celebration on the field and by a hardy band of Waimea fans in the stands.

"All but three of the players had at least one parent here, and I'm pretty sure the others will be here by tomorrow," said Waimea coach Mark Kennett, whose team became the first school from Kauai to reach the final four in soccer.

"Beating the No. 1 seed and finally bringing down mighty Mililani is a very special accomplishment," Kennett added. "This victory had a lot to do with the heart of Waimea boys. We played to our strengths, using our speed up front. Chad Johnson is a busy little player. He fights for every ball and creates a lot of chances. He goes just as hard in 3 vs. 3 drills in training as he does in a game."

Those are traits, Johnson insisted, shared by his teammates.

"We knew that fighting for every ball was the way to victory," he said. "But after they pulled to within one, those were the longest 10 minutes ever."

Yamamoto was philosophical about the end of Mililani's reign.

"It's been a great run. We've been lucky at times," Yamamoto said. "We still have a good program. We won another OIA championship, although you wonder how great of an accomplishment that is after the results the last two days."

Indeed, all five of the OIA representatives lost their opening matches.

Kamehameha 2, Hawaii Prep 1

The Warriors earned a berth in the semifinals against surprising Waimea by rallying for an overtime win over Ka Makani.

The game-winner came on a spectacular left-footed shot by Dustin Engle, who chested down a clearance and hit a first-time shot into the back of the net in the 88th minute.

The Warriors squandered a golden opportunity to win in regulation when, with 2 minutes left, Logan Sauer was awarded a penalty kick, only to have the ball go well over the crossbar.

Ka Makani jumped out to an early lead when Giyup Han found space on the left side of the penalty area and drilled a 10-yard shot that bounced off the near post and into the net in the 7th minute.

Kamehameha responded in the 26th minute when Kekoa Osorio headed in a corner kick by Ikaika Pidot.

Kealakehe 2, King Kekaulike 0

The Waveriders advanced to their first semifinal appearance, earning a spot in tonight's 8 p.m. match against Iolani.

Relying on their superior speed up front, the Waveriders took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute. Joey Giubardo won the ball in midfield and his pass split Na Alii's defense. Hookela Sanborn ran onto the ball and scored on the breakaway.

Kealakehe upped its lead to 2-0 when freshman midfielder Lanakila Ynigues beat two defenders to a bouncing ball on the left side of the penalty area and lofted the ball over the goalkeeper and into the right side of the net.

Iolani 3, Honokaa 0

Despite thoroughly dominating the first half, Iolani had nothing to show for its considerable effort.

"We moved the ball around well in the first half, but we couldn't finish our opportunities," said Iolani coach Chris Lee, whose team owned a 10-1 edge in shots following those scoreless first 40 minutes.

"We told them to be patient, to be persistent and that the goals would come."

And come they did. The first at 42:27 by Kirtus Adams. The second at 49:39 by Ryan Harada. And the third at 54:14 on a 25-yard free kick by Lee Anderson.

Kaiser 2, Kapolei 1 (PK)

Just 15 hours after suffering a 2-0 first-round loss to Kamehameha, the Hurricanes were knocked out of the tournament following nine rounds of penalty kicks in a 2-1 loss to Kaiser.

Jacob Curtis scored at 20:11 for the Cougars, who earned a spot in tomorrow's consolation final. Kapolei's Daryl Mills scored in regulation on a penalty kick.

Kaiser won the shootout 5-4, with Kyle Niiro converting his shot and Cougars goalkeeper Neal Fajardo making his fourth save during the tiebreaker.

E-mail to Sports Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com