It’s Friday afternoon and the start of the Mililani vs. ‘Iolani state girls soccer semifinal is about 2 hours away.
It should be a good one at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium, and may rival the Trojans’ 1-0 victory over ‘Iolani for the 2015 championship. In that one, a super close game was won by the Trojans on kind of a fluke late goal.
Both teams are skilled at every position. The edge in speed probably goes to ‘Iolani; the edge in physicality to Mililani (12-0-2).
Aiea coach Benji Villaflor thinks his league rival Mililani — the Oahu Interscholastic Association champion and top–seeded team — has a shot in the battle of the unbeatens if they can have success at possessing the ball.
Trojans coach Ray Akiona thinks a big key will be if the defense can stay calm and structured and doesn’t go chasing the potent offensive weapons of the Raiders (11-0-3).
At the top of ‘Iolani coach Kristin Masunaga‘s wish list: finish off offensive opportunities.
The late semifinal game, pitting defending state champion Pearl City (11-3-1) against Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion Punahou (11-1-1), should also be a tight matchup. The same goes for whichever two teams make the final.
All four semifinalists have won a state title within the last six years —
>> 2016: Pearl City (five state crowns overall)
>> 2015: Mililani (four state crowns overall)
>> 2013: ‘Iolani (four state crowns overall)
>> 2011: Punahou (11 state crowns overall)