For the most part, high school athletes are readily accessible for an interview immediately after a contest.
Wednesday was just a bit different. The villain, so to speak, of the 1-1 ‘Iolani vs. Punahou soccer draw was already in discussion with somebody else.
Zach Kingsley, the Chaminade University coach, was in the process of getting to know the Raiders’ Ronnie Bartenstein as a potential recruit.
When that conversation was over and the media swooped in, Bartenstein, a solid center fullback, said he intends to play in college next season, and right now, his top choice is Pacific University in Oregon. He is also considering Whitworth (Spokane, Wash.), and now he has the Silverswords as another option.
On Wednesday, Bartenstein was the victim of circumstance, receiving two yellow cards (equaling a red card) and being removed from the match.
In his absence, the Raiders were forced to play 10 men to Punahou’s 11 for about the final 15 minutes of the important ILH match with first place on the line.
Fortunately for ‘Iolani, its back row, led by Trey Curet, fended off Punahou’s all-out assault over the final five minutes.
Bartenstein, due to the two yellows, will miss Saturday’s home match against Damien.
The first yellow card came when Bartenstein, charging at near full speed, went after a ball going out of bounds, got to it about 4 yards past the line and booted it hard upfield.
Technically, it was unsportsmanlike.
“I thought that was ridiculous,” Bartenstein said. “I was in full stride, trying to clear the ball down the line. I couldn’t stop myself.”
The second yellow card came when Bartenstein made a hard tackle on a Buffanblu player.
“I don’t think he (the referee) realized he carded me once before,” Bartenstein said.
Punahou coach David Trifonovitch had the same sentiment.
“I don’t think he would have given him the second card if he had known he had already given him one,” Trifonovitch said.
Bartenstein will use his break wisely.
“Now, it’s my turn to sit on the sideline and cheer on the team,” he said.
As for the tie, he wasn’t thrilled, but it was a huge surprise.
“We battled really hard,” he added. “We expected it to be like this. We knew it would be a game that the fans would get involved in and the coaches. It was a rowdy game and we knew it would be like that.”
It’s been rowdy going in the ILH, with four highly competitive teams taking aim at each other.
The Raiders (7-1-1) stayed atop the ILH Division I standings with the tie. The Buffanblu (6-2-2) are right behind, followed by Kamehameha (6-3-1). Those three teams are vying for two state-tourney berths.
Mid-Pacific (7-1-1) has clinched the ILH D-II title and the state berth, and the Owls — with games against Kamehameha and ‘Iolani left — can play spoiler in the D-I race.