ILH coaches move quickly to simplify soccer schedule

Kamehameha's Caly Ah Soon (14) tried to chase down 'Iolani's Ali Yoshida (18) during the ILH girls soccer championship game Tuesday. It was the fourth game for both teams in a span of seven days. Photo by Darryl Oumi/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

ILH soccer coaches were looking for a fix and they may get it quickly.

The problem is an overload of matches to decide the league champion. It came to a head on Tuesday, when Kamehameha and ‘Iolani played for the girls title.

Both coaches, Kristin Masunaga of the Raiders and Missy Moore of Kamehameha, were not thrilled that their teams were playing for the fourth time in seven days.

It was, they told the media after the match, not an ideal way to play for a championship. League titles, after all, are something most athletes will cherish for the rest of their lives.

Yet, due to fatigue, neither team was on top of their game and it showed. Masunaga subbed liberally (another rarity for a championship game at any level) and Moore was more concerned about one of her girls who was injured in the second overtime of Kamehameha’s 1-0 (2-1 PKs) win than the “nice” title they just achieved.

So, how does it get fixed?

The ILH girls and boys soccer coaches met Thursday night to discuss the overloaded schedule and voted unanimously to simplify the system.

Now, the school athletic directors will take it up in February and pass or reject what the coaches proposed.

What the coaches want to see next year is a first round of games against all teams (Division I and II) and a second round of games against teams within the division. The first- and second-place teams would be the state qualifiers, with a playoff for the title and a state seeding only if there is a tie.

Two years ago, the schools played two full rounds of games against all other league teams, with playoffs for the first round, second round and overall title when needed.

Last year, the format was changed to a first round in which all teams play against each other followed by a second round tournament format.

That format was still in effect this season for the girls league season that just ended and for the boys season, which is about to wrap up.

With the ‘Iolani girls winning the first-round title, the schedule of games over the league’s final week looked like this for the Raiders and Warriors:

End of first round
>> Tuesday, Jan. 15: ‘Iolani 6, Mid-Pacific 0 (clinch first round title)
>> Tuesday, Jan. 15: Kamehameha 2, Punahou 1
Second round (tournament)
>> Friday, Jan. 18: ‘Iolani 5, Mid-Pacific 0
>> Friday, Jan. 18: Kamehameha 2, Punahou 1 (PKs)
>> Saturday, Jan. 19: ‘Kamehameha 3, ‘Iolani 2, OT (tourney final)
>> Tuesday, Jan. 22: Kamehameha 1, ‘Iolani 0, PKs (overall title)

These four games in seven days for both teams occurred right before the upcoming state tournament, where another tight window with an load of games awaits.

“Everyone agreed,” ‘Iolani’s Masunaga said about the vote. “It’s too many games at a high level in such a short period of time. You’re not setting up teams for success. Teams are beating each other up before the state tournament. It’s not safe for the kids.”

Masunaga said reverting back to the format from two years ago was also discussed, but that for the most part, coaches felt that there were still too many matches with D-I teams playing against D-II teams.


  1. Aiea 7 January 25, 2019 7:19 pm

    why don’t they follow football, where there is inter-league play (Div 1 vs Div 1 and Div 2 vs Div 2) and for the ILH championship only games against ILH teams should be used to determine the league championship and a single elimination tournament to determine the second team to be in the state tournament. the league champion will represent the league as number one and the tournament winner will be number 2. if there are ties, use the win-loss point system to determine the winner, if there are still ties than a shoot-out.

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