To say the Waialua girls soccer program is on the upswing would be an understatement.
The Bulldogs are thriving.
After going 0-10 a year ago, the Bulldogs started 0-6 this season, but came on strong to finish as OIA Division II champions and a spot in the state tournament.
A 6-0 loss to Pac-Five in the quarterfinals of the Division II state tourney Thursday didn’t dampen Waialua’s season one bit.
“As a coach, I have nothing to complain about,” Bulldogs head man Tim Kawahakui said after the loss.
Kawahakui is happy about the growth of the sport at Waialua High and Intermediate.
“We have 30 girls on the intermediate team in seventh and eighth grades,” he said. “And we have 23 on varsity. We started with 26, but some kids had other things going on and dropped out. That was OK with us. We want them to pursue whatever their first love is. Two of them are surfers who won their divisions recently.”
North Shore … surfing … and now soccer.
“This is a big turnaround to where we are today, and the hope is that more girls will come out and play next season,” Kawahakui said.
The senior class is made up of 87 boys and girls at Waialua, illustrating just how small the school is.
Despite a six-goal loss that included four goals given up in a 10-minute span of the second half after a 2-0 halftime deficit, Waialua got solid defensive performances from Ashley Nakoa-Kawakahui and Jordyn Bjur.
“The girls’ confidence built as the season went along,” Kawakahui said. “They started to believe that they could accomplish whatever they wanted. We won our last four (regular-season) games and placed third in the OIA West.”
Senior Cierra-Lynn Ramirez was an offensive catalyst along with freshman Dallas Toledo-Young, who will return to help continue the Bulldogs’ path up the OIA charts.
The Bulldogs take a 5-7-2 record into Friday’s game against Kauai. A win there would extend their season one more game — the state Division II fifth-place game.