Punahou, Mililani go down to the final kick

Punahou’s Dane Mizuno (21), Mililani’s Ayden Lawes (7) and Punahou’s Treyden Buder-Nakasone (2) all went to head the ball during a D-I state semifinal game that came down to penalty kicks. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

It’s all about the drama every spring when The Queen’s Medical Center/HHSAA Boys Soccer State Championships roll around.

And we had a winner of game — full of inspiring effort — on Friday night in the Division I semifinals at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park.

Two of the best soccer programs in the state put it on the line. With the score tied 2-all, fans watched as chance after chance of a chip pass fell into a crowd in front of the goal, only to eventually be kicked away out of harm’s way.

Who would win? Would Punahou, with its 20 D-I state titles in the 45 years of the event, get past Mililani? Or would the Trojans — who own six state championships — net the game-winner?

It’s one that could go either way and the fans know it. They ooh and ahh on every play as the contest heads to overtime.

Will someone make a fantastic play at the jewel of a stadium with its perfectly cut grass? Will someone make a costly mistake?

Will they go all out for the goal or play conservatively as to not give up a goal?

The winner will get a berth in the final Saturday night. The other will have heartbreak that may very well last until the 2019-20 season starts.

The suspense continued in overtime and then on to the second overtime. The Buffanblu had a hot chance, when Rayden Daijo broke down the left wing and sent a shot toward the far corner, but it went wide by a foot.

The unofficial scoreboard clock ticked down and the more it did, the chance incrased that it will be decided by penalty kicks.

Midway through the second overtime, Mililani’s Josh Ishizaki gets a foot on a ball from 10 yards out after Noah Ungos‘ throw-in. The shot, however, goes just high.

Part of the beauty of this match is you really can’t tell who is going to win.

Then, with two minutes left, the fans on both sides erupt as Mililani’s Ayden Lawes is issued a yellow card.

Moments later, Punahou’s Liam Nichols-Shipley, on a back pass from Matthew Fairfax, sends a screamer from 25 yards on the right side toward the far post and goalkeeper Nicholas Gaston dives to punch it away.

Tweet, tweet, tweet. The whistle blows to signal the end of the second OT. Penalty kicks are next.

Mililani misses its first shot and Punahou holds leads of 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, 4-2 and 4-3.

Up steps Punahou’s Micah Williams. There is a pause. No sound in the stadium. He has his fists at both sides, elbows out. Superman’s stance.

Boom. He kicks one into the high right corner. Mililani goalkeeper Nicholas Gaston, who was also called upon as a shooter earlier (the one who missed with a shot off the crossbar) had no chance.

Punahou wins the PKs 5-3. The drive for 21 is alive.

Afterward, Williams talked about the winning moment. That pause described earlier was on purpose.

“I wanted to develop my own style that would be uniquely me,” he said. “In track, when I do the triple jump, I look down the runway and take a deep breath, so I brought the same thing into my PKs where I look the goalie straight in the eyes, take a deep breath and wait a little.”

There’s more.

“I decide where I’m going to put it during the breath I take,” he added. “I don’t even know until I’m making the run up. The important part is it went in.”

On Saturday, the second-seeded and ILH champion Buffanblu (11-1-2) will face the winner of Friday’s late semifinal between ‘Iolani and fourth-seeded OIA champion Kapolei. Their last state title came in 2017.

For the Trojans, it was an excruciating loss.

“It stings,” said Lawes, who still had tears in his eyes 10 minutes after the match. “You never want to lose and it was tough how we lost. We came back hard, scoring two goals and felt really confident. It’s tough.”

HHSAA D-I State Boys Soccer

Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1Feb. 4'Iolani vs. KaiserIol, 4-0'Iolani
2Feb. 4Hilo vs. KalaniKaln, 1-0Hilo
3Feb. 4Baldwin vs. Pearl CityPC, 2-1 (5-3 PKs)War Memorial Stadium
4Feb. 4Mililani vs. CampbellMil, 4-0Mililani
5Feb. 7(2) King Kekaulike vs. MililaniMil, 2-0Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
6Feb. 7(4) Kapolei vs. Pearl CityKapo, 1-0 (OT)Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
7Feb. 7(1) Hawaii Prep vs. 'IolaniIol, 2-1Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
8Feb. 7(3) Punahou vs. KalaniPun, 2-1Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
9*Feb. 8Pearl City vs. Hawaii PrepHPA, 6-1Waipio
10*Feb. 8King Kekaulike vs. KalaniKK, 5-1Waipio
11Feb. 8Mililani vs. PunahouPun, 3-2 (5-3 PKs)Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
12Feb. 8Kapolei vs. 'IolaniIol, 3-2Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
13*Feb. 9Hawaii Prep vs. King KekaulikeKK, 3-1Waipio
14*Feb. 9Mililani vs. KapoleiKapo, 5-1Waipio
15Feb. 9Punahou vs. 'IolaniPun, 1-0 (OT)Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
* — consolation

HHSAA D-II State Boys Soccer

Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1Feb. 7(1) KS-Hawaii vs. WaialuaKSH, 2-1 (OT)Waipio
2Feb. 7(4) Kapaa vs. Seabury HallKapa, 2-1Waipio
3Feb. 7(2) Saint Louis vs. WaipahuStL, 3-0Waipio
4Feb. 7(3) Kalaheo vs. Makua LaniKalh, 2-0Waipio
5*Feb. 8Waialua vs. Seabury HallSH, 8-0Waipio
6*Feb. 8Waipahu vs. Makua LaniML, 1-0 (PKs)Waipio
7Feb. 8KS-Hawaii vs. KapaaKapa, 3-1Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
8Feb. 8Saint Louis vs. KalaheoStL, 1-0Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
9*Feb. 9Seabury Hall vs. Makua LaniML, 2-1Waipio
10*Feb. 9KS-Hawaii vs. KalaheoKalh, 2-0Waipio
11Feb. 9Kapaa vs. Saint LouisKapa, 1-0Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
* — consolation

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