UPDATE: It’s Moanlaua vs. Kahuku and Mililani vs. Campbell in the OIA Final Four. Each of last year’s final four have already been eliminated, leaving Kapolei and Kaiser to play for one state berth and Aiea and Pearl City to play for the other.
FFacing one-and-done scenarios in the first round of the OIA Division I girls soccer tournament, Moanalua and Pearl City didn’t wait long to get their first goals on the board on Monday.
Moanalua scored in the fourth minute of a 3-0 win over Waianae in the first game of a doubleheader at Pearl City.
The host Chargers were even quicker in taking a lead against Roosevelt in the second match of the night. Nikki Suwa scored in the first minute and Pearl City advanced with a 3-1 win over the Rough Riders.
Monday’s matches at Kapolei were considerably tighter with Campbell edging Kailua 1-0 and Kapolei beating Castle on penalty kicks.
There was little margin for error in the first round with the losing teams calling it a season while the survivors play on with two chances to qualify for the Division I state tournament.
Moanalua and Pearl City head out to Kahuku on Tuesday for quarterfinal matches. Moanalua faces OIA West second seed Aiea at 5:30 p.m. Pearl City takes on OIA East top seed Kahuku at 7.
On the other side of the bracket at Mililani, Campbell and Kaiser meet at 5:30 to be followed by the 7 p.m. match between Mililani and Kapolei.
Tuesday’s winners secure state tournament berths along with advancing to Thursday’s semifinal round. The losing teams can still play their way into states through the fifth-pace bracket on Wednesday.
Senior leadership often comes to the forefront at tournament time and Moanalua coach Nikki Dela Pena credited the eight Na Menehune seniors for leading the effort. Sophomore Anessa Ridley scored Moanalua’s first goal on a breakaway, senior Hoku Afong broke loose for the second and the duo combined on the third Na Menehune goal with Ridley scoring off an assist from Afong.
“They’re such a good support and they control the team,” Ridley said of the senior class, “and they help you out a lot. They fix a lot of your mistakes.”
Aside from a couple of close calls in the second half, Moanalua’s defense kept the pressure off of freshman goal keeper Maddie Price for much of the evening.
The margin might have been wider if not for the play of Waianae goal keeper Kama Kaeo, who handled several tough shots in the second half. Kaeo entered her junior season coming off an ACL injury and cleared to play in early December, Waianae coach Vince Ramos said.
Waianae went 0-6-4 in the OIA West and struggled to score after the loss of 14 seniors off last year’s team, including current University of Hawaii freshman Sonest Furtado.
Ramos said the Seariders have one or two players in club soccer while most are involved in multiple sports on campus. Considering the rebuilding project, “they did good for this season,” Ramos said.