BFFs propel Punahou


POSTED: Sunday, February 08, 2009

In another meeting of two battle-scarred teams, chemistry prevailed when sheer force did not.

Two seniors and best friends for forever, Aisha Price and Jayann Gabrio, collaborated for the game's only goal at the 36-minute mark as unseeded Punahou edged top-seeded, three-time defending champion Kamehameha 1-0 last night for the JN Automotive Group/HHSAA Girls Soccer Division I championship.

Punahou, the runner-up to Kamehameha in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, closed the season 13-0-3 with its first state crown since 2005. It is the ninth state title for the Buffanblu and the first under second-year coach Matt Martinson.

Kamehameha closed the season 12-1-2.

Price played sparingly because of a strained right quadriceps suffered in a semifinal win over Mililani. However, she entered the game for a throw-in from the right corner—her unstoppable weapon. Her deep throw found Gabrio point-blank at the goal, and Gabrio headed the ball in for the only goal of the match.

“;I aimed at the goal. I knew Jayann would be there,”; Price said. “;This is a dream come true. We're best friends.”;

Gabrio was ready.

“;I guess it's all about timing. Aisha threw it in the right spot. It's a line drive, so you have to time it perfect,”; Gabrio said. “;Aisha came in for the play and she said, 'Make this count.' “;

Kamehameha's speedy strikers, Caprice Dydasco and Courtney-Rae Botelho, led an explosive attack, but Punahou's defense was sturdy the rest of the way.

Kamehameha's final-minute threat included a cross from Botelho that bounced three times in front of the goal without being touched before getting booted out by Punahou. A moment later, Meleana Shim socked a corner kick to the box, but Gabrio was there to head it out, and time expired.

“;I can't sprint or I'll pull it,”; Price said of the injury. “;My role today was to cheer. Going in was kind of a shocker. I didn't think I'd play.”;

The scoring play was predictable. Price and Gabrio have hooked up on that throw-in since they were little keiki playing for Leahi Soccer Club—under Kamehameha coach Michelle Nagamine.

“;Hey, if we have to lose a game, I want to lose to this team,”; Nagamine said of Punahou. “;I know them personally and I know how hard they work every day.

“;The throw-in is a total weapon. You know it's coming, but it's very hard to defend,”; she added.

Punahou senior goalkeeper Alana Munger had one save, aided heavily by a suffocating defense.


Division I Consolation

Third place: King Kekaulike 0, Mililani 0

Fifth place: Kapolei 0, Kamehameha-Maui 0

Seventh place: Pearl City 4, Roosevelt 2