Kailua claims its first soccer title by beating McKinley


POSTED: Saturday, February 06, 2010

Kailua's victory last night signaled both the arrival of the Surfriders' boys soccer program and a step toward a larger goal.

The Surfriders captured their first championship with a 2-0 win over McKinley in the final of the Oahu Interscholastic Association White playoffs, giving head coach Steve Dignam a title in his first year and a selling point for the future.

“;Hopefully, it'll grow. When they hired me this is what I envisioned, building a program so we can compete with these guys,”; Dignam said, nodding toward the field where Mililani and Kapolei were warming up for the OIA Red title match.

“;I graduate a lot of seniors, so hopefully with the championship I'll get more of those players. I know they're hiding in the halls, so we'll see.”;

Kailua completed a sweep of the OIA White titles, last night's win coming a week after the Surfriders girls team successfully defended its OIA crown.

A year after losing in the league final, the Surfriders scored twice in a 5-minute span in the first half to take command of last night's match on their way to earning the OIA's seeded berth in next week's state tournament.

“;It's a big thing; it's an honor to be part of it,”; Kailua junior Brandon Taoy said of becoming the first boys soccer team to contribute to the school's trophy case.

Kailua and McKinley split their regular-season meetings, and Taoy tilted the momentum Kailua's way about 30 minutes in. Awarded an indirect free kick, Kailua's Patrick Wolfe tapped the ball back to Taoy, who hammered his shot into the net.

“;That was a set play we've been practicing over and over,”; Taoy said. “;The pass is supposed to open up the wall to create that one gap, and it was just picture perfect. Couldn't have asked for anything nicer.”;

Kailua's next goal about 5 minutes later wasn't exactly a product of design. Trey Tam popped a shot that floated toward the goal, sailing just over the reach of McKinley goalkeeper Scott Sei and under the crossbar.

“;I tried to shoot it but kind of miskicked it and it happened to go in, but I'll take any goal,”; Tam said.

Said Dignam: “;We tell them a lot of times, play the ball in front of the goal and see what happens.”;

Kailua kept the pressure on in the second half, keeping Sei busy while the Tigers struggled to generate scoring threats against Kailua goalkeeper Aloanu Meagher.

Dignam credited Wolfe with shadowing McKinley's Ryan Min, the Tigers' top scorer, in executing the Surfriders' defensive emphasis.

“;Just getting to the championship game is good, qualifying for states, this would have been the cherry on top, but I'm proud of them getting to this point,”; McKinley coach John Mai said.

“;We just couldn't get any offense going. The last game against Radford we were taking shots, but this game our passes weren't connecting, we just weren't ready.”;