The winning story lines were similar.
Two final matches in The Queen’s Medical Center/HHSAA Girls Soccer State Championships were decided in the late going on Saturday.
Koa-trophy winning Kamehameha in Division I and Hawaii Prep in D-II were in tie ballgames and in jeopardy of being dethroned as reigning champions when the halftime breaks came around.
For the top-seeded ILH champion Warriors (11-0-2), their second straight state title and 10th overall in the 39th year of the tournament was not going to be possible until they figured out how to adjust to pesky and determined King Kekaulike (11-1-1).
And they did figure it out for a 1-0 win. Coach Missy Moore was truly amazed afterward that her players pulled through despite being asked to change their formation three times throughout.
“So proud of the whole team,” said Moore, who has been a part of four of Kamehameha’s state championships in the last nine years. “For them to buy in and to listen to what we were doing, I have no words.”
She spoke through tears.
“King Kekaulike was an amazing opponent,” she continued. “From the get-go, they were on us. They had a really good game plan. They stuck with it. We struggled in the first half, trying to get our bearings and figuring it out.”
The victory was served up by Anuhea Aluli, who sent a high-arcing 35-yarder into the top left corner in the 51st minute.
There was a flurry of activity in the offensive ends on both sides of the field after that, but the Kamehameha defense held tight.
“It was a total team effort,” Moore said. “And a total team defensive effort. Being aware of each other and playing off of each other and being there for each other when maybe that first defender was beat was huge.”
Still, things almost collapsed when Teani Arakawa of the third-seeded MIL champ Na Alii hit the crossbar in the 79th minute.
“I jumnped for joy when Anu scored,” Kamehameha defender Tausani Tavale said. “Oh my God, when they hit the crossbar, I was so scared. I was like, ‘God, please be with us.’ ”
Zoe Alexandra Asue, a gritty Na Alii defender, perhaps summed up the dramatic match best.
“They didn’t give up,” she said. “We didn’t give up. That’s what made it a great match. It was a beautiful game. Really physical. Both teams played really well. In the end, it was the team that just put it away. It was a nice shot and from far out, too.”
King Kekaulike made the semifinals for the first time in 2019 and made its first final this year.
“We were pushing for it,” Na Alii coach Gundi Dancil said. “We will go back and make another goal to go higher next year.”
The Warriors’ other state championships came in 1989, ’95, ’96, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’12, ’14 and ’19.
Hawaii Prep takes seventh straight D-II title with late flurry
The top-seeded BIIF titleists were coming in with a streak of six straight D-II state championships.
The seventh was not easy, even though the final score of 4-1 over Kauai High sounds like it was.
All the second-seeded KIF champion Red Raiders (13-1) had to do was take advantage of a potential Hawaii Prep miscue. They did just that in the first half to get that 1-1 tie with Ka Makani that lasted three quarters of the way into the second half.
Thankfully, for coach Stephen Perry and his squad, no big mistakes were made in the late stages despite several breaks into Ka Makani territory by the Red Raiders.
When Emily Thompson scored in the 70th minute after taking a beautiful up-the-middle pass around a defender by Angela Cipriano, Hawaii Prep had exactly what it needed. Ka Makani finished strong with two more goals, one by Malia Brost and another by Kahala Erskine on a cross from Isabella Police.
Perry knows he’s going to hear from fans around the state the question he hears every year, “Why not move up to D-I?”
He pre-emptively gave his take on that afterward: “We’re a D-II school with 300 kids. We’re comfortable where we’re at.”
Thompson admitted she was concerned about the championship streak ending.
“I was a little worried,” she said. “But when the team is in trouble, we keep pushing. We knew we had it because we have the drive to finish it. It’s so amazing to carry on the legacy.”
Brost and Jenna Perry, who scored the game’s first goal, along with Cipriano and Police among others, were the forces making things happen for Ka Makani.
“Malia and Jenna are two hammers out there, eliminating the other team’s attack,” coach Perry said. “And Malia is such a weapon with her left foot.”
Now a seven-time state championship-winning coach, Perry knew that even though the streak was hanging in the balance, his girls had to keep their high-powered attack going.
“We said, ‘Look, relax. Play our game,’ ” he said. “We kept going, kept going, kept going and our defense was squeezing hard.”
|1||Feb. 3||KS-Maui vs. Campbell||KSM, 1-0||KS-Maui|
|2||Feb. 3||Moanalua vs. Kailua||Moan, 1-0||Moanalua|
|3||Feb. 3||Hilo vs. Pearl City||PC, 3-1||Hilo Bayfront|
|4||Feb. 3||Punahou vs. Aiea||Pun, 1-0||Punahou|
|5||Feb. 6||(4) Konawaena vs. Moanalua||Kona, 1-0||Waipio|
|6||Feb. 6||(3) King Kekaulike vs. Punahou||KK, 1-0||Waipio|
|7||Feb. 6||(2) Mililani vs. Pearl City||PC, 2-1||Waipio|
|8||Feb. 6||(1) Kamehameha vs. KS-Maui||KSK, 1-0||Waipio|
|9*||Feb. 7||Moanalua vs. KS-Maui||KSM, 3-0||Waipio|
|10*||Feb. 7||Punahou vs. Mililani||Mil, 1-0 (PKs)||Waipio|
|11||Feb. 7||Konawaena vs. Kamehameha||KSK, 3-0||Waipio|
|12||Feb. 7||King Kekaulike vs. Pearl City||KK, 2-0||Waipio|
|13*||Feb. 8||KS-Maui vs. Mililani||Mil, 2-1||Waipio|
|14*||Feb. 8||Konawaena vs. Pearl City||Tie, 2-2||Waipio|
|15||Feb. 8||Kamehameha vs. King Kekaulike||KSK, 1-0||Waipio|
|* — consolation|
|1||Feb. 5||Sacred Hearts vs. Waimea||Waim, 3-2 (3-1 PKs)||Waipio|
|2||Feb. 5||Seabury Hall vs. Kapaa||Kapa, 1-0 (2 OT)||Waipio|
|3||Feb. 5||Waianae vs. Nanakuli||Wain, 2-1||Waipio|
|4||Feb. 5||KS-Hawaii vs. Radford||KSH, 6-0||Waipio|
|5*||Feb. 6||Sacred Hearts vs. Seabury Hall||SHA, 4-1||Waipio|
|6*||Feb. 6||Nanakuli vs. Radford||Rad, 2-1 (4-2 PKs)||Waipio|
|7||Feb. 6||(1) Hawaii Prep vs. Waimea||HPA, 6-0||Waipio|
|8||Feb. 6||(4) Kalaheo vs. Kapaa||Kapa, 2-0||Waipio|
|9||Feb. 6||(2) Kauai vs. Waianae||Kaui, 12-0||Waipio|
|10||Feb. 6||(3) Mid-Pacific vs. KS-Hawaii||MPI, 4-2||Waipio|
|11*||Feb. 7||Waimea vs. Kalaheo||Waim, 1-0||Waipio|
|12*||Feb. 7||Waianae vs. KS-Hawaii||KSH, 8-0||Waipio|
|13||Feb. 7||Kauai vs. Mid-Pacific||Kaui, 2-1||Waipio|
|14||Feb. 7||Hawaii Prep vs. Kapaa||HPA, 3-0||Waipio|
|15*||Feb. 8||Sacred Hearts vs. Radford||Tie, 0-0||Waipio|
|16*||Feb. 8||Waimea vs. KS-Hawaii||KSH, 3-0||Waipio|
|17*||Feb. 8||Mid-Pacific vs. Kapaa||Tie, 2-2||Waipio|
|18||Feb. 8||Kauai vs. Hawaii Prep||HPA, 4-1||Waipio|
|* — consolation|