Profound ILH girls soccer rivalry rages on

Punahou's Legacy Kalua, center, received congratulations from teammates after her penalty-kick goal in Thursday's 1-1 tie against Kamehameha. Jamm Aquino / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The Big Three in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu — ‘Iolani, Punahou and Kamehameha — are known for fiery rivalries in most sports.

In girls soccer, it’s all-out combat every year, and not one of the three teams has approached anything that could be considered dominance.

ILH state berths (champions and runners-up) 2008-2017
>> 2017: 1. Punahou; 2. ‘Iolani
>> 2016: 1. ‘Iolani; 2. Kamehameha
>> 2015: 1. Punahou; 2. ‘Iolani
>> 2014: 1. ‘Iolani; 2. Kamehameha
>> 2013: 1. ‘Iolani; 2. Punahou
>> 2012: 1. Kamehameha; 2. ‘Iolani
>> 2011: 1. Punahou; 2. ‘Iolani
>> 2010: 1. Punahou; 2. ‘Iolani
>> 2009: 1. Kamehameha; 2. Punahou
>> 2008: 1. Kamehameha; 2 Punahou

ILH teams who became state champions
>> 2017: ‘Iolani
>> 2016: Non-ILH winner (Pearl City)
>> 2015: Non-ILH winner (Mililani)
>> 2014: Kamehameha
>> 2013: ‘Iolani*
>> 2012: Kamehameha*
>> 2011: Punahou*
>> 2010: Punahou*
>> 2009: Punahou
>> 2008: Kamehameha*
*–team won both ILH and states

ILH titles, state berths, state titles by team, 2008-2017
>> League titles: 3
>> State berths: 8
>> State titles 2

>> League titles: 3
>> State berths: 5
>> State titles: 3

>> League titles: 4
>> State berths: 7
>> State titles: 3

ILH titles, state berths, state titles by team, 2013-2017
>> League titles: 3
>> State berths: 5
>> State titles 2

>> League titles: 0
>> State berths: 2
>> State titles 1

>> League titles: 2
>> State berths: 3
>> State titles: 0

If you take a close look, you’ll see that in the early part of the last 10 years, Punahou was more often than not sitting at the top of the heap. Then, Kamehameha started trending upward and now ‘Iolani (having qualified for states in each of the last five years) is the de facto top choice.

But games are decided on the field, one by one, and it’s always a crapshoot.

This year, so far, Kamehameha leads the eight-team ILH pack at 4-0-1, followed by Punahou at 3-0-2 and ‘Iolani at 3-1-1.

And here is how the first round of the top-tier triangle went, with the second games upcoming.

>> Nov. 29: At ‘Iolani 0, Punahou 0
>> Dec. 8: Kamehameha 1, at ‘Iolani 0
>> Dec. 14: At Kamehameha 1, Punahou 1
>> Dec. 21: ‘Iolani at Kamehameha, 4 p.m.
>> Jan. 5: Kamehameha at Punahou, 4 p.m.
>> Jan. 8: ‘Iolani at Punahou, 4 p.m.

The Warriors’ 1-0 win over the Raiders on Dec. 8 was ‘Iolani’s first regular-season loss in the ILH since the 2012-13 season.

In the most recent match Thursday, Punahou took a 1-0 lead early in the second half on a penalty kick by Legacy Kalua. Kamehameha knotted it up for the 1-1 final on Leah Feato‘s goal after a pass from D’awncey Jones.

The players and coaches in that game know the drill and are expecting more razor-close matchups.

Even though she was happy with the comeback tie, Warriors coach Missy Moore knows that a win would have been a big boon.

“If we had won this game, it would have pushed us more ahead, made separation for ourselves. (The ILH race) is going to be neck and neck again.”

Added Punahou goalie Hailey Asato: “It’s always fun to play Kamehameha and ‘Iolani. They’re always good competitors and they always make us better. If we keep working our hardest, we can finish in the top two, hopefully.”

New Buffanblu coach Shelley Izuno wasn’t surprised by the tie as well as the earlier tie against the Raiders.

“The ILH, it’s as expected,” she said. ” ‘Iolani is a great team and Kamehameha is always a great team also. I knew (upon taking the job in May) what we were headed into. We pulled off a tie against ‘Iolani and felt we could have played better. Same (against the Warriors). I thought we could have played better, but it’s hard to go into someone else’s field and bring it.”

Tausani Tavale, who was stellar on the back line for the Warriors on Thursday, expects there to be pressure every time in this three-headed monster of a rivalry.

“I feel like it’s always going to be a good game because all of the teams want to win badly,” she said.

For the full ILH girls soccer schedule, results and standings, click here.


  1. Ritxard December 15, 2017 5:21 pm

    Ahhh, 2015/2016. Those were the days for OIA West girls’ soccer!! Could 2018 be a return? Tonight in Pearl City will be a clue. Chargers, even without @SunshiineFontes will be hard to beat!

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