It’s been a long time coming. Pushing, pushing, pushing and finally getting in.
Third-seeded MIL champion King Kekaulike is finally going to the title game in Division I of the Queen’s Medical Center/HHSAA Girls Soccer State Championships.
Na Alii will play defending champion Kamehameha in Saturday night’s final at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium — the site of two huge victories in a row for these girls from Maui.
On Friday, Na Alii upended Pearl City 2-0 in the semifinals. The night before, it was a dramatic 1-0 victory over Punahou in the quarterfinals that was won on a penalty kick in the 79th minute.
Nearly every year, King Kekaulike comes over and competes hard. Last year, Na Alii made it as far as the semifinals, where it lost to the Kamehameha, the team it faces tonight.
But there is a new mind-set that started soon after that 6-0 shellacking by the Warriors one year ago.
“Last year, at the end of states, we had a team meeting just before going back to Maui and that was one of goals (getting to the final) that our ladies put on themselves,” King Kekaulike coach Gundi Dancil said. “One of the things they did, they worked out with their club teams to get their skill level up. They came back and some of them worked with the JV level players, freshmen and sophomores (during the JV season that is earlier than the varsity season) to help bring their level up.”
In a nutshell, that six-goal loss hurt and they do not want that to happen again so they’re doing whatever they can to make sure it doesn’t.
Friday’s victory over Pearl City showcased the high skill level of King Kekaulike forward/midfielder Teani Arakawa. She was in on the attack all night and the speedy, shifty player was giving spectators the sense that she was somehow going to make a difference at some point.
It didn’t quite happen that way for the game-winning goal, which actually came off the foot of Leiala Aruda, who powered through the Pearl City defense to get into position to slam it home for a 1-0 lead in the 65th minute after a scoreless first half.
But Arakawa got involved in the scoring right after that. Minutes later, she made a skillful pass up the middle through two defenders to Madelyn Dougherty, who put it into the low corner of the goal to basically seal the victory with just seven minutes to go.
“She was quick,” Pearl City coach Frank Baumholtz III said about Arakawa. “She was fast and everything. But they outplayed us for the last 20 minutes of the game.”
Arakawa, a junior, has been a captain for two years.
“Since she was a freshman, Teani has been a core player on our team,” Dancil said. “She has really held her work ethic up. She is one of the few to be picked as a captain as a sophomore. Her workout during the summer and with her club team was terrific. She went to the weight room.”
In order for King Kekaulike to have a shot at beating Kamehameha, the obvious thinking is that Na Alii will have to stop potent scoring threat Kalia Kalua.
Dancil agrees that Kalua is someone to concentrate on.
“She (Kalua) is a force,” he said. “We know her capabilities and her skill level. We told the ladies, she is someone to mark, but we’re not going to change our whole game plan for one player; we should be comfortable in what we do first.”
Kalua knows just how far these girls from Maui have come. After Kamehameha’s 3-0 semifinal win over Konawaena earlier Friday, she watched King Kekaulike and Pearl City warm up.
“For Maui, what a great thing for them to be here,” she said. “There aren’t as many teams over there and not as much competition. For them to make it this far is a big thing for them.”
|1||Feb. 3||KS-Maui vs. Campbell||KSM, 1-0||KS-Maui|
|2||Feb. 3||Moanalua vs. Kailua||Moan, 1-0||Moanalua|
|3||Feb. 3||Hilo vs. Pearl City||PC, 3-1||Hilo Bayfront|
|4||Feb. 3||Punahou vs. Aiea||Pun, 1-0||Punahou|
|5||Feb. 6||(4) Konawaena vs. Moanalua||Kona, 1-0||Waipio|
|6||Feb. 6||(3) King Kekaulike vs. Punahou||KK, 1-0||Waipio|
|7||Feb. 6||(2) Mililani vs. Pearl City||PC, 2-1||Waipio|
|8||Feb. 6||(1) Kamehameha vs. KS-Maui||KSK, 1-0||Waipio|
|9*||Feb. 7||Moanalua vs. KS-Maui||KSM, 3-0||Waipio|
|10*||Feb. 7||Punahou vs. Mililani||Mil, 1-0 (PKs)||Waipio|
|11||Feb. 7||Konawaena vs. Kamehameha||KSK, 3-0||Waipio|
|12||Feb. 7||King Kekaulike vs. Pearl City||KK, 2-0||Waipio|
|13*||Feb. 8||KS-Maui vs. Mililani||Mil, 2-1||Waipio|
|14*||Feb. 8||Konawaena vs. Pearl City||Tie, 2-2||Waipio|
|15||Feb. 8||Kamehameha vs. King Kekaulike||KSK, 1-0||Waipio|
|* — consolation|
|1||Feb. 5||Sacred Hearts vs. Waimea||Waim, 3-2 (3-1 PKs)||Waipio|
|2||Feb. 5||Seabury Hall vs. Kapaa||Kapa, 1-0 (2 OT)||Waipio|
|3||Feb. 5||Waianae vs. Nanakuli||Wain, 2-1||Waipio|
|4||Feb. 5||KS-Hawaii vs. Radford||KSH, 6-0||Waipio|
|5*||Feb. 6||Sacred Hearts vs. Seabury Hall||SHA, 4-1||Waipio|
|6*||Feb. 6||Nanakuli vs. Radford||Rad, 2-1 (4-2 PKs)||Waipio|
|7||Feb. 6||(1) Hawaii Prep vs. Waimea||HPA, 6-0||Waipio|
|8||Feb. 6||(4) Kalaheo vs. Kapaa||Kapa, 2-0||Waipio|
|9||Feb. 6||(2) Kauai vs. Waianae||Kaui, 12-0||Waipio|
|10||Feb. 6||(3) Mid-Pacific vs. KS-Hawaii||MPI, 4-2||Waipio|
|11*||Feb. 7||Waimea vs. Kalaheo||Waim, 1-0||Waipio|
|12*||Feb. 7||Waianae vs. KS-Hawaii||KSH, 8-0||Waipio|
|13||Feb. 7||Kauai vs. Mid-Pacific||Kaui, 2-1||Waipio|
|14||Feb. 7||Hawaii Prep vs. Kapaa||HPA, 3-0||Waipio|
|15*||Feb. 8||Sacred Hearts vs. Radford||Tie, 0-0||Waipio|
|16*||Feb. 8||Waimea vs. KS-Hawaii||KSH, 3-0||Waipio|
|17*||Feb. 8||Mid-Pacific vs. Kapaa||Tie, 2-2||Waipio|
|18||Feb. 8||Kauai vs. Hawaii Prep||HPA, 4-1||Waipio|
|* — consolation|