Mililani's Kim is state's best soccer player
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
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"Justin's a playmaker, he makes a difference in games," says Pearl City coach Scott Keopuhiwa of Justin Kim.
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Kim, who led the Trojans to their fourth straight state championship, was selected as The Advertiser's State Player of the Year.
Kim, a senior midfielder, took part in all set plays in the Trojans' offensive third of the field.
"His service is terrific," Kamehameha coach Andrew Ah New said. "He's the most dangerous server in the state."
Kim was named Player of the Year after a vote of 12 coaches and media throughout the state.
"Justin's a playmaker, he makes a difference in games," Pearl City coach Scott Keopuhiwa said. "The time we played them in the regular season, he was involved in all three goals that were scored upon us. He was always a threat, someone you would try to deny the ball, and limit the damage that he does."
Kim, a repeat selection to the first team, was the O'ahu Interscholastic Association's Western Division Player of the Year, scoring nine goals in the regular season and assisting on many others.
He played a key role for the Trojans, giving them their third straight undefeated season. He switched to forward in the state tournament, creating havoc for opposing defenses. His ability to hold the ball forced defenders to double team him until his teammates got open, and he would set them up with the perfect pass.
He was joined by 11 other players on the first team all seniors.
Four forwards were selected to the first team: Kalaheo's Max Anton, Mililani's Patrick Egloria, Iolani's Christopher Faulkner and Baldwin's Blake Nunes.
"Max, to me, is probably one of the guys who is the most threatening forwards," McGehee said. "He scores goals as well as sets them up."
Egloria led the OIA Western Division with 10 goals this season, helping the Trojans to their third straight OIA championship. His speed and ability to beat defenders down the line and cross the ball provided tough match-ups for defenders.
"He's a crafty forward with a lot of speed and skills, and he was always a threat," Keopuhiwa said.
Faulkner scored 10 goals for the Raiders, leading them to their first Interscholastic League of Honolulu championship since 2001. He scored in eight of the 14 games the Raiders' regular-season contests.
"By far, one of the most dangerous forwards we had to face all season long," McGehee said.
Nunes was the Maui Interscholastic League's Player of the Year after scoring 11 regular-season goals, and was what many coaches referred to as the "best forward in the state."
"In the state tournament he seemed like he had a nose for the goal and led his team through his play," Keopuhiwa said.
Punahou's Stephen Carlson, Kamehameha's David Gualdarama, Mililani's Kim and Iolani's Dyrk Teramae were selected as midfielders, although three could have easily been selected as forwards.
Carlson, who was selected to the first team as a forward last year, scored nine goals in the ILH season, and received votes again this year as a forward after playing both positions for the Buffanblu.
Gualdarama was selected to the first team for the third straight year after being named the ILH's Offensive Player of the Year and leading the Warriors into the state semifinals. He scored nine regular-season goals and two more in a playoff game to give Kamehameha the ILH's second berth into the state tournament.
He was a close runner-up to Kim in Player of the Year voting.
"He was probably the most gifted midfielder this season and the last few seasons in terms of organizing a team," McGehee said. "He could put the ball where ever he wanted, which creates big problems for defenses. He's also extremely deadly when he wants to shoot."
Teramae played in the midfield during the ILH season, where he was selected to the first team. He switched to forward in the state tournament, where he scored three goals and had an assist, leading the Raiders into the state finals.
Baldwin coach Kaniela Palazzotto said one of the keys to their game plan was to "make sure Dyrk didn't get open." It didn't work Teramae scored two goals and had an assist in a 3-1 win.
Jay Abrigo of Mililani, Dane McCleary of Iolani and Jeremy Patton of Kaiser were selected as defenders after playing key roles in central positions for their teams.
Abrigo had the ability to take over in the defensive third, stopping opposing teams before their attacks even got started. His size and strength in the middle of the field was a huge asset and his ability to send long balls to his forwards helped kickstart the Mililani offense.
McCleary was the ILH's Defensive Player of the Year. His leadership allowed Iolani coach Ric Miller to use three defenders, which enabled Iolani to play with five midfielders. He was what Miller called the "anchor" of its defense.
Patton was one of the reasons why Kaiser had a share of the OIA Eastern Division title, scoring more goals than he let into the Cougars' net. He scored six goals from his defensive position, and allowed four.
"Jeremy's a solid defender and he kept the Kaiser team organized in the back," Keopuhiwa said. "He made them hard to score on. He was the backbone of that team."
Mililani's Darren Smith was chosen as the first-team goalkeeper for the second straight year. Smith did not play most of the regular season because of an injury from playing football, and was an OIA Western Division honorable mention selection. But during the postseason, he allowed two goals in six games, and had two saves in the penalty-kick portion of the championship game against Iolani.
Iolani's Miller was named Coach of the Year after leading the Raiders to the ILH title and second place in the state.
Reach Leila Wai at email@example.com or 535-2457.