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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Beating Kaiser may require perfection

• OIA soccer tournament

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

Castle's Kyle Miyahana (5) keeps the ball away from Kaiser's Chad Jamieson. Both teams are in the OIA Tournament.

Photos by Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

It took nearly 800 game minutes to happen, and when it finally did last Wednesday, the Kaiser High School boys soccer team had no regrets.

Castle's Corey Zablan launched a line drive from about 25 yards out, causing Kaiser goalkeeper Joshua Curtis to leap sideways and fully extend his arms to block it. The ball found a narrow opening, however, and shot through it before nestling into the upper corner of the net.


Not just any goal, but the only one allowed by the Cougars in the 10-match O'ahu Interscholastic Association Eastern Division schedule.

"It was a perfect shot, there was nothing our defense could have done against it," Kaiser coach Herb Schreiner said. "It was the best shot against us all year. We took pride in the 'Big Zero,' and it might have freaked our guys out a little to give up that first goal. But then they kept playing and didn't lose a beat."

The Cougars had a 2-0 lead before Zablan's goal and won, 2-1, to finish the regular season at 10-0-0.

"In a way, it's good to get the monkey off our back," Schreiner said. "Now we can just focus on winning."

There's no better time for that, since the 12-team OIA playoffs begin tomorrow with four first-round matches. Kaiser, the No. 1 seed in the East, draws a bye along with East No. 2 Castle (7-1-2), West No. 1 Mililani (9-0-0) and West No. 2 Campbell (6-2-1).

Though the Cougars enter the tournament with the most impressive record, they by no means are taking the rest of the field lightly.

"Campbell knocked us out of the playoffs in the first round last year, and it's been a while since Kaiser made it to the state tournament," Schreiner said. "Mililani is a real solid team, and I give Castle all the credit for giving us a tough game. I think they're very strong physically, soccer-wise. Even Kalani is a tough team to play. You never know what can happen in the playoffs."

Kaiser is one of the most intriguing of the 12 teams. The Cougars' most deadly weapon, senior forward Landon Beers, is a 5-foot-4, 130-pound senior who played six different positions in football.

Beers was only a part-time starter in soccer last season but led the East with 16 goals this year.

"He's very athletic and has a lot of speed," Schreiner said. "He grew up in the sport, but he's really focused this year and became a leader. And he earned all of those shots he scored on. He's really come through for us."

The same can be said of Kaiser's defense, which is led by Curtis, sweeper Lucas Hom and defenders Matt Stucke, Jeremy Patton and Mike German.

Although Curtis is the one credited with nine shutouts, Stucke has chipped in by making three saves and Hom also "had a few" from his sweeper spot, Schreiner said.

"Our whole defense has made a bunch of nice plays for us," Schreiner said. "They all work together."

Kaiser goalkeeper Joshua Curtis stopped this shot, but later gave up a goal to Castle's Corey Zablan on a "perfect shot."
Schreiner said that's actually true of the whole team.

"This corps really gives 110 percent; they work their hearts out," said Schreiner, who with wife, Michelle, has run an Olympic Development program in the offseason. "They're not highly skilled, but they have a desire to play and a love of the game. That's what makes 'em."

Most of Mililani's players share that same love of soccer, having played the game from "hanabata days."

"It has to do with our community — we have a pretty strong youth organization here, and we're benefitting from that," Trojans coach Jeff Yamamoto said. "We're lucky to get good players, and because of Mililani's past success, the players want to play a little harder once they get here."

The Trojans have won four of the past seven OIA championships, and they again are a serious threat to win another title. Senior captain Vance Harris can score from almost anywhere, as proven by his 45-yard direct kick goal against Pearl City on Dec. 28.

Sophomore Justin Kim and juniors Nathan and Tommy Amous also offer a lot of skills, and a defense led by Harris, Bronson Yee, Tommy Brown, Todd Suenaga and Chris Castell has been almost as effective as Kaiser's.

The Amous brothers are transfers from Kalaheo.

Like Mililani, Castle has benefitted from a strong youth soccer community. The Knights are led by senior captains Darryl Tangonan (midfielder), Blaine Fujimoto (sweeper) and Dustin Shichida (midfielder).

Sophomores Chris Lee (defender) and Mike Mayeda (midfielder) also have made strong contributions, as have seniors Nolan Miranda (forward) and Kyle Miyahana (defender). Freshmen Bryce Muraoka and Ethan Gonzalves have emerged as top defenders, and Brennan Alexander and Travis MacDonald have shared goalkeeping duties.

"We're pretty balanced," Castle coach Matt MacDonagh said. "We've had good teams here, so when players get here they know they have big shoes to fill and have to step up."

So far, they all have.

"We focus on team play; it doesn't matter who scores," MacDonagh said. "(Zablan's) goal against Kaiser was only his first or second of the year. Hopefully that makes us harder to defend, because the other team won't know where it's coming from."

Campbell's team lacks the experience of the other top seeds, but the Sabers have proved to be quick learners. Coach Frank Marotti brought over five rookie players from the football team to shore up his defense. Standout sweeper Shauncey Saito is one of Campbell's few veteran soccer players.

"The difference between our program and the ones like Mililani and Pearl City is they play all year round," Marotti said. "Most of our guys play for three months. But they've done a pretty good job for what they've got."

Forward Mike Ryman (18 goals) has especially answered the call, since the Sabers' other striker was lost to academic probation.

"He's made some phenomenal goals for us," Marotti said.

Aside from the top four seeded teams and Kalani, coaches mentioned 'Aiea, Moanalua, Leilehua and Radford as potential sleepers.

One team noticeably absent from the tournament is defending champion Pearl City. The Chargers were forced to forfeit seven matches after it was discovered an ineligible player had played in those matches.

"They're our main rival, and we think of them as a top-notch opponent," Yamamoto said. "It was bittersweet when we heard the news. I'm sure some of our guys were thinking it's a great opportunity for us not to have to play them, but I think playing against Pearl City is better for all the OIA teams as far as preparing us for the state tournament.

"They have some real good players who are good kids, and I really feel bad for those boys."

• • •

OIA soccer tournament


(Seeds, division records in parentheses)



At Leilehua

  • East 4 Kahuku (6-3-1) vs. West 5 'Aiea (4-3-2), 5:15 p.m.
  • West 3 Leilehua (6-3-0) vs. East 6 Kailua (5-3-2), 7 p.m.

At Moanalua

  • West 4 Radford (6-3-0) vs. East 5 Kalani (6-4-0), 5:15 p.m.
  • East 3 Moanalua (7-3-0) vs. West 6 Wai'anae (3-4-2), 7 p.m.



At Mililani

  • East 2 Castle (7-1-2) vs. winner of Leilehua-Kailua, 5:15 p.m.
  • West 1 Mililani (9-0-0) vs. winner of Kahuku-'Aiea, 7 p.m.

At Kaiser

  • West 2 Campbell (6-2-1) vs. winner of Moanalua-Wai'anae, 5:15 p.m.
  • East 1 Kaiser (10-0-0) vs. winner of Radford-Kalani, 7 p.m.


At Kailua

Wednesday, Jan. 30

  • Quarterfinal losers at 5:15 and 7 p.m.

At Kailua

Friday, Feb. 1

  • Semifinal losers at 5:15 p.m. for third place
  • Jan. 30 winners at 7 p.m. for fifth place and state tournament berth (first five teams qualify)


Tuesday, Jan. 29

  • Jan. 24 winners at Mililani, 5:15 and 7 p.m.


Saturday, Feb. 2

  • Semifinal winners at Pearl City, 5:30 p.m.

Admission for all games: $5 general; $3 students with activity cards and kindergarten through 8th graders.


(Seeds, division records in parentheses)


Friday, Jan. 25

At Pearl City

  • East 4 Kahuku (5-2-3) vs. West 5 Leilehua (4-4-1), 5:30 p.m.
  • West 3 Pearl City (7-1-1) vs. East 6 Kaiser (5-3-2), 7:15 p.m.

At Roosevelt

  • West 4 Waialua (5-3-1) vs. East 5 Castle (6-4), 5:30 p.m.
  • East 3 Roosevelt (6-2-2) vs. West 6 Radford (3-5-1), 7:15 p.m.


Saturday, Jan. 26

At Mililani

  • East 2 Kailua (7-1-2) vs. winner of Pearl City-Kaiser, 5:15 p.m.
  • West 1 Mililani (8-0-1) vs. winner of Kahuku-Leilehua, 7 p.m.

At Kailua

  • West 2 'Aiea (7-0-2) vs. winner of Roosevelt-Radford, 5:15 p.m.
  • East 1 Kalaheo (8-1-1) vs. winner of Waialua-Castle, 7 p.m.


Tuesday, Jan. 29

At Castle

  • Quarterfinal losers at 5:15 and 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 1

At Castle

  • Semifinal losers at 5:15 p.m. for third place
  • Jan. 29 winners at 7 p.m. for fifth place and state tournament berth (first five teams qualify)


  • Wednesday, Jan. 30
  • Jan. 26 winners at Mililani, 5:15 and 7 p.m.


Saturday, Feb. 2

  • Semifinal winners at Pearl City, 7:30 p.m.

Admission for all games: $5 general; $3 students with activity cards and kindergarten through eighth-graders.