How good is Kapolei?
The Hurricanes beat Mililani 3-0, fighting off 20-mph winds in the process, for the OIA Division I boys soccer championship Saturday night at Kaiser Stadium.
Anyone who follows Hawaii high school soccer knows that Kapolei has been zooming in on bigger and better things in the boys soccer world for quite some time. The Hurricanes have OIA D-I titles in 2007, 2011 and 2017 — and now in 2019. Here they come, right?
Well, the D-I state tournament presents its own set of problems. It’s a whole ‘nother level. So far, the Hurricanes have not gotten to that promised land.
The upcoming state tournament is the next stop for Kapolei. Not only will the iron of the ILH be there, but also the best teams from the ever-improving Neighbor Islands. It was just one year ago when Baldwin from Maui and Hawaii Prep from the Big Island locked horns in a D-I state championship battle.
Lightning won that contest. Yes indeed. Lightning was striking in the area and they never finished the match that was tied 0-0. The elusive buzz about that match was: With two talented Neighbor Island teams showing their stuff in that final mix here on Oahu, why send one home a loser? A greater power, perhaps, stepped in.
Kapolei (12-1) is not about to be stopped by natural phenomena, however. The school’s nickname is actually one of them. And don’t forget, the Hurricanes somehow broke through for two goals in the second half — against the wind — to beat Mililani.
Saturday’s win came after a 5-1 romp over Kaiser on Thursday in the semifinals. So there is no doubt: Kapolei will be seriously contending for the koa trophy this year.
Ah, but contending and actually winning it are two different things.
Aside from the aforementioned contenders on Maui, the Big Isle and in the ILH, there is Mililani, who went all out Saturday, but basically ended up waving the white flag in the windy conditions.
With no wind, perhaps it’s a different story, like in the regular season when the Trojans (12-1) handed Kapolei its only loss, 1-0.
And don’t forget the scrappy Kalani Falcons, who fought like crazy in the final minutes but came up short to Mililani, 3-2, in the semifinals.
“In our minds, the state championship has been the goal from the beginning of the season,” said Kapolei midfielder Sam Wren, who will be playing for UNLV next season. “We’re going to enjoy this moment now, get back to practice and just follow our goals and dreams. All of these players have dreams to win the state championship.”
The Trojans are far from done.
“We still have something to play for and that’s all that matters,” Mililani coach Steve McGehee said. “These opportunities don’t come up every year. We got to play in a final, which is fun to do.”
McGehee’s son Liam McGehee, who is also the place-kicker for the Mililani football team, is counting on a bounce-back.
“We came this far and couldn’t finish,” he said. “But I know our team will be back. The wind is definitely not an excuse. But you can always do better. We’ll be back and stronger at states.”
The Trojans were unable to bring a 17th OIA championship back to the Mililani campus, but they will be going for a seventh D-I state title to go along with the championships they captured in 2001, ’02, ’03, ’04, 12, and ’15.
OIA PlayoffsUpdated: Jan. 26
|1/21||Campbell||Moanalua||Camp, 2-1 (5-4 PKs)|
|1/21||Pearl City**||Kahuku||PC, 5-1|
|1/22||Kaiser||Pearl City||Kais, 3-2|
|Consolation semifinals — At Castle|
|1/23||Roosevelt||Pearl City||PC, 3-0|
|Semifinals — At Kaiser|
|Fifth place — At Castle|
|1/25||Campbell||Pearl City||PC, 3-1|
|Third place — At Castle|
|Championship — At Kaiser|
|First round — At Farrington|
|1/23||Aiea||Farrington||Aiea, 1-0 (OT)|
|Semifinals — At Kailua|
|Third place — At Kaiser|
|1/26||Waipahu||Aiea||Waip, 1-0 (PKs)|
|Championship — At Kaiser|
|* — @ Campbell|
|** — @ Roosevelt|
|*** — @ Mililani|
|**** — @ Kaiser|