The Lancers have been close before.
Last year, the girls soccer team from the Academy of the Sacred Hearts were also the broken hearts. An opening-round 4-1 win over Waianae at the state tournament was followed by a 3-2 loss to No. 1 seed Hawaii Prep. The BIIF champions went to capture their fourth-straight state title.
It was the first appearance in the state tourney for the Lancers since 2008, when they lost in overtime to Campbell, 2-1. Then they edged Waialua 2-1, and lost in the consolation final, 2-1, to… Hawaii Prep.
This year’s team went 8-4 in league play. The Lancers were 3-4 the first go-round of ILH play against D-I and D-II teams, then dominated D-II competition to earn the program’s first ILH title and a seeded position for the Outrigger Hotels/HHSAA Girls Soccer Division II State Championships, which begin on Thursday at Waipio.
Coach Glenn Arakawa chatted with Hawaii Prep World recently.
HPW: Is there still a glow after winning the ILH D-II title or is it all business or healing right now?
Arakawa: We enjoyed the win against Damien to win the title, the first in the school’s history in soccer. We did, however, start preparing for states when we had already wrapped up one of the D-II slots.
HPW: ILH teams have won six of the 11 state titles in D-II. How comparable is your team to the Pac-Five squad of 2007-10, or the MPI team of ’11-’14?
Arakawa: I didn’t get to see the Pac-Five teams, but did see the MPI teams as I knew or coached players playing there. For us, we are similar to the style that MPI played. We may not have the depth that those teams had, but we do play with similar heart.
HPW: HPA lost last week in the BIIF. They’ve won 4 state titles in a row. What’s your outlook on HPA and the contenders at states?
Arakawa: We faced HPA last year in the quarterfinals. We came out flat and slow, but picked up the pace in the second half to make the game close and almost pulled it even, but the whistle blew. We played them again in the championship game in the Ka Makani Tournament in Waimea. They were basically the same team as last year.
I was surprised that Kamehameha-Hawaii beat them, but both teams were strong preseason in my eyes. I think that HPA will have a harder route since they play Nanakuli first, then face us next. It was a tough draw for us, but the girls are looking at it as a challenge. Right now I would give HPA the edge since they have played last week and will have a game before playing us in the semifinals. They will be sharper to start.
HPW: Kekaimalie Woods. What does she mean to the team as a playmaker and leader?
Arakawa: Malie can unlock defenses easily and is our scoring leader. We needed a dependable scorer on top who could put it to the back of the net on a regular basis and she was our answer.
HPW: Is there anything about this team that would surprise people?
Arakawa: Yes, our tenacity. They don’t get too up or too down and play 100 percent to the last whistle. This is what I love about this team, always fighting and finding ways to win.
HPW: One-word fun time:
Arakawa: Chanel Yee: brains
Te’a Kekahuna: deceptive
Leinani Lacio: driven
Jocelyn Chen: energizer
Kiley Pazcoguin: rock solid
Aaliyah Navares: Denmark
Keeli Manguso: IR
CJ Arakawa: shifty
Meghan Matsuoka: high fives
Alena Schenk: pesky
Justice Colburn: blink
Eden Arthur: consistent
Tiana Manabat: Pom-poms (she is also a cheerleader in Florida right now)
Brooklyn Yano: solid
Alexis Schmidt: dependable
Jordan Confair: speedy
Logan Robago: cray-cray
Haley Peterson: legs
Kiana Paiaina: tough
Kekaimalie Woods: deceptive
Felicity Fittante: quiet
Gerilyn Agunaut: mouse