Missy Moore had barely caught her breath after Kamehameha’s shootout victory over ‘Iolani to clinch a state tournament berth on Friday when the Warriors coach addressed the new format to the ILH girls soccer season.
“It’s a lot more stressful,” Moore said as the Warriors’ celebrated a return to states after missing the tournament last year.
Kamehameha and ‘Iolani split 1-0 wins in the regular season and closed the schedule at 9-1-1, forcing a playoff for the league’s first-round title and the accompanying spot in the Division I state tournament.
After 100 scoreless minutes, Kamehameha earned the advantage in penalty kicks when senior goalkeeper Kendal Stovall made a diving save on the Raiders’ second attempt. ‘Iolani junior Musuai Isaia answered with a save of her own, but the Raiders’ next shot hit the left post and D’awncey Jones-Black’s goal gave Kamehameha the 4-2 win in the shootout for what goes into the books as a 1-0 victory.
Kamehameha wins the shootout 4-2 to clinch the ILH first round and a spot in the state tournament. pic.twitter.com/CswjO2ikbF
— Jason Kaneshiro (@jasonkaneshiro) January 20, 2018
Along with the state berth, Kamehameha secured the top seed in the league’s upcoming single-elimination tournament and will seek its first ILH championship since 2012. The Warriors open the league tournament at home on Thursday against the winner of Tuesday’s match between fourth-seeded Mid-Pacific and fifth-seeded Pac-Five.
Defending state champion ‘Iolani plays host to third-seeded Punahou and can clinch the other state berth with a win on Thursday.
If a team other than Kamehameha wins the tournament, another playoff for the overall ILH championship to determine the league’s seeded state tournament berth is scheduled for Jan. 31.
The Division I state tournament opens with first-round matches on Feb. 5. The top four seeds don’t play until the quarterfinals on Feb. 8.
“It’s not good for us right before the state tournament. It’s our fault though because we all voted on this format,” ‘Iolani coach Kristin Masunaga said.
“(Moore) mentioned to me, ‘hey if we’re tied at the end … you want to just flip a coin for ILH champion?’”
Under the previous format, ‘Iolani would already be in the state tournament as the ILH’s second-place team. This time the Raiders will need a win Thursday — or in another potential playoff for second-place if Kamehameha wins the tournament — to extend a streak of state tournament appearances dating back to 2009, the longest such run in ILH girls soccer history.
“We just have to work harder,” Masunaga said. “It’s a more difficult path, but we’re not out of it.”