There's no questioning Garbin's eligibility
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By Dennis Anderson
Advertiser Staff Writer
As she watched Sundays delayed telecast of the Baldwin High softball teams victory celebration after its thrilling victory over Kamehameha in the state championship game, senior Nicole Garbins memory stirred.
"I know that feeling," she thought. "It feels good. I want that feeling again."
Garbin was chosen Hawaii girls soccer Player of the Year last season after Baldwin became the first Neighbor Island team to win the state championship. She and six other starters return this week as the nucleus of the No. 1 seeded-team in the 20th annual Meadow Gold Girls State Soccer Championships.
"We feel we are going to find a way to win it again," Garbin said. "We have confidence in one another. It takes the whole team to win states, not just one player or a couple. Its gonna take all of us."
And all of the Bears are an impressive lot. Besides Garbin, whose teammates call her Nikki, Baldwin returns four other first- or second-team all-state players in striker Shawna Shimamura, sweeper Koren Takeyama, playmaking midfielder Alana Souza and goalkeeper Mahie Atay.
Shimamura was the Maui Interscholastic League scoring champion with 28 goals in 12 games. Atay, a sophomore, has not allowed a goal this season.
"Our defense is pretty solid. They keep the ball off of her," said coach Kawika Keator, last seasons state Coach of the Year.
And as if the Bears needed another weapon, freshman Kami Kapak¬ stepped in at striker opposite Shimamura and scored 16 goals, tying center-halfback Garbin for second on the team.
"She caused a lot of havoc with her quick moves to the ball," Keator said. "She doesnt wait for the ball, she goes to it, and takes it with either foot."
Sophomore stopper Tori Kim, whom Keator says "has a solid head, she wins everything in the air," and center-halfback Melissa Petro are the other 2000 state tournament starters back for Baldwin.
Peaking at right time
An eighth returning starter, outside fullback Tasha Tom, hasnt played since she tore her right anterior cruciate ligament in the Maui tournament in December but will try this week.
Taryn Apo, Janelle Anoba, Kapua Ahtay and Nicole Patterson are the other Bear starters.
"Were finally starting to come around," Keator said after Baldwin completed its fourth straight unbeaten Maui league season Thursday night. "We are passing a lot better · "
Such a statement cannot be comforting for the other 11 teams in the state tournament, which opens tomorrow at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park. Baldwin plays its first game at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday against the winner of tomorrows Kauai vs. Kailua game.
The tournament moves to Aloha Stadium for Fridays semifinals and Saturdays final round. The championship game will be at 7:30 p.m.
What team does coach Keator fear? "It would have to be ourselves," he said. "If we lose it will be us that beats us."
KICKS: Baldwin went 50-0 in the Maui Interscholastic League the past four years, with Nicole Garbin starting every game. She has been Mauis Player of the Year or co-Player of the Year every season, and all-state since she was a sophomore. . . . Overall this season, the Bears are 19-1-1. They beat state teams Mililani, Pearl City and Punahou in preseason. They lost to Kamehameha in pool play at Moanalua but defeated the Warriors in the championship game of the same tournament. . . . Baldwin head coach Kawika Keator says his six assistants are a major factor in the Bears success. "They do everything, I dont know where to begin," he said. . . . Garbin is considering scholarship offers from Oregon State, San Francisco and Hawaii. She says all three have told her she would be allowed to play basketball as well as soccer. Her grade-point average is 3.4.
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