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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Mililani girls hope to give school a sweep in soccer

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

Whatever boys do, girls can do, too.

That's what Mililani High School is hoping proves true this week at the Meadow Gold Girls State Soccer Championship Tournament at Waipi'o Peninsula Park. The top-seeded Trojans will try to follow the lead of the Mililani boys team, which won the state tournament last weekend on Maui.

The Trojans (11-0-1) feature senior forward Mele French, who led all O'ahu goal scorers — boys and girls — with 23 during the regular season. She added four more goals in the O'ahu Interscholastic Association tournament two weeks ago, with two in a quarterfinal victory over Kahuku and two in a 2-1 semifinal win over Pearl City.

French, a first-team all-state selection last year, has signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Oregon next fall on a full scholarship.

"She scored on us last year when we lost to them in the quarterfinals," Punahou coach Jorge Barbosa said. "She's a terrific player, a finisher who can really put the ball away."

Other top offensive players for the Trojans are senior forwards Julie Broussard and Jolie Nitta.

The Trojans' defense is led by two first-team all-state players: fullback Mallory Iha and goalkeeper Eryn Kishimoto.

Punahou (7-1-2) drew the No. 2 seed after winning a tight Interscholastic League of Honolulu race by one point on the season's final day. The Buffanblu won the ILH first round with a 5-0 record, but they went 2-1-2 in the second round, including two ties to finish the season.

"I am concerned that we couldn't finish shots (in the last two games)," Barbosa said. "We were struggling to score. But there also were some unknowns there that other people may not have known about. The kids were just coming off (participating in) the carnival and variety show, which are big traditions at Punahou and can make you physically and emotionally tired. Those shouldn't be excuses, but I like our chances this week because I don't think we'll be as lethargic."

The Buffanblu can apply heavy pressure with forwards Adria Campbell (seven goals), Charlene Lui (four goals), Megan Abbott (three goals) and Pippa Macdonald (three goals). Midfielders Ashley Collins and Romy Trigg-Smith also are scoring threats.

"We have to try and get back to how we were early in the season, when we were getting goals from a lot of different girls," Barbosa said.

Punahou's defense is led by sophomore goalkeeper Allison Lipsher, who was second-team all-state last season.

Two-time defending champion Baldwin, the No. 3 seed, lost 2001 State Player of the Year Nicole Garbin to graduation. But the Bears (10-1-2) return two first-team all-state players in senior goalkeeper Mahie Atay and junior defender Koren Takeyama.

Other top returnees who were part of last year's championship team are sophomore forward Kami Kapaku and junior midfielders Taryn Apo and Tori Kim.

"Even though they lost the Player of the Year, they didn't lose large numbers," Barbosa said. "And the confidence boost you can get from being the defending champion can be amazing. They'll be dangerous."

Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion Hilo (15-0) returns to the state tournament for the second straight year after a seven-year drought from 1994-2000. The Vikings, seeded fourth, are led by junior forward Erica Chong, sophomore forward Rachel Clevenger and junior midfielder Mia Van Kralingen.

Chong scored 19 goals in 13 regular-season games, while Clevenger scored 13 and Van Kralingen nine.

All four seeded teams received byes for tomorrow's first round. One first-round match to watch is Kealakehe (12-4, BIIF runner-up) against Pearl City (9-3-1, OIA fourth place). The game will showcase two of the state's top forwards in Kealakehe junior Lisa Franke, who led all BIIF goal scorers with 22, and Pearl City senior Carmen Calpo, who tied for second in the OIA with 17. Calpo signed a letter of intent last week to play for Hawai'i.

The winner of that game will meet Punahou in Thursday's quarterfinals.

"Pearl City has fast forwards; they beat Kamehameha in the preseason just on their speed," Barbosa said. "But there are no pushovers in this tournament, they're all well-earned spots. It really shows the parity in Hawai'i now. It will be a good tournament."