The Kamehameha Warriors did something Monday that not many teams in any sport at any level can do.
They played a complete game from start to finish. It just so happens that they caught Punahou on somewhat of a bad day and polished off a dominant 2-0 girls soccer victory.
The only holes in the Warriors’ performance came in the latter portion of the match when Punahou broke through for three scoring chances, including one glaring opportunity in which Kamehameha goalkeeper Chaylea Tome made a brilliant jumping hand stop of a high ball off the foot of freshman Allison Little.
“It wasn’t perfect. It was how we recovered after those breakdowns that was important,” Kamehameha coach Melissa Moore said Monday, fresh off the victory that gave the Warriors (12-1-1) the ILH championship.
The team breathed a sigh or relief afterward, too. If Kamehameha had lost, it would have had to play the Buffanblu (8-3-2) again for the title on Wednesday. Instead, Punahou moves on to play ‘Iolani (9-3-3) for the league’s second spot in the state tournament Wednesday at Kozuki Stadium.
Now, Kamehameha has a little bit of a rest ahead before getting ready for states.
“We’ll be taking some (brief) time, but then we’ll get right back into it,” Warriors midfielder Kylie Minamishin said. “Today, we definitely stepped up from the very beginning and put pressure on them and just tried to hold it, and I thought we did a really good job. I think our coaches agree that this was the best full game we’ve had.”
Still in the mix, though, are those two rivals. Punahou could come back and make states, but so could ‘Iolani, the defending Division I state champion.
Moore was asked if the win was bittersweet since a loss to Punahou would have finished ‘Iolani’s season.
“They’re not gone yet?” Moore asked jokingly about the Raiders. “Punahou and ‘Iolani are very good teams. We never really come out thinking about other teams. We gotta do our job.”
Moore was clear about one thing, for sure. The Warriors wanted to get the title clinched Monday and they got it done.
“We didn’t want to play another game (for the league title),” she said. “The ILH is a battle.”
The Warriors are preparing to take aim at their first state title since 2014. They’ll be seeded into the quarterfinals Feb. 8 at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium. The tourney begins Feb. 5 and runs through Feb. 10.