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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Taniguchi selected Player of Year

 •  Advertiser's All-State First Team

By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer

At least three times a week, Kamehameha senior defender Dustin Taniguchi was at the field running sprints and laps before practice to prepare for the state soccer tournament.

Kamehameha senior Dustin Taniguchi was "an example for other kids to see what excellence is about," said Warriors coach Andrew Ah New, the All-State Coach of the Year.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

"It gave the other kids something to look at," Kamehameha coach Andrew Ah New said. "He was an example for other kids to see what excellence is about."

Taniguchi's excellence on the field was also seen by a statewide panel of 12 coaches and media that named him The Advertiser's State Player of the Year.

"He's a team player, and a very talented, skilled player; very versatile," Iolani coach Chris Lee said. "He's very composed in the back, very fast, very quick, and it makes him tough to beat one-on-one."

Taniguchi's leadership was key in the Warriors' path to their first state title.

"His ability to read the game, and his leadership, too, the way he was talking; his distribution from the backfield. He started a lot of their counterattacks," Waimea coach Mark Kennett said.

Leilehua senior Ryan "RB" Bibilone, Kamehameha senior Dustin Engle and Waimea junior Chad Thompson were the forwards named to the first team.

Bibilone, the O'ahu Interscholastic Association West Player of the Year, scored 11 goals.

"He's a very dangerous forward. He can create things on his own with his individual ability," Lee said.

Engle, who scored five goals in the ILH, got hot in the postseason, scoring three goals in four state tournament games en route to MVP honors.

"I don't think anybody had as good a shot as he did in the state this year," Ah New said. "He can get himself open and take shots from anywhere."

Thompson, the Kaua'i Interscholastic Federation Player of the Year, scored five goals in league play and four in the state tournament to lead Waimea to a third-place finish.

"He's sneaky fast, and he reads defenses so well," Kennett said. "His ability to get behind defenses is hard to coach."

Iolani senior Kirtus Adams, Kamehameha sophomore Kekoa Osorio, Baldwin senior Brady Nunes and Honoka'a junior Eli Bowman were the first-team midfielders.

Adams, the ILH Defensive Player of the Year, was an instrumental component in the Raiders' quest for a second straight league title.

The state's premier defensive midfielder was "all over the field. He's comfortable on the ball and able to maintain possession for us," Lee said.

"He shuts down any good player," Ah New added.

Andrew Ah New

Coach of the Year

Osorio tied for third in the ILH with eight goals.

"He's got everything," Ah New said. "When we needed a goal, I didn't have to say anything, he just went out and got it."

Nunes, the Maui News' Maui Interscholastic League Player of the Year, is "very comfortable on the ball, and he's got good vision," Lee said.

Bowman, the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Player of the Year, led Honoka'a to a fifth-place state finish. He moved to defense to help solidify the Dragons and finished with seven regular-season goals.

"I would put him behind Adams as being one of the best defensive players," Ah New said.

Along with Taniguchi, four other defenders were selected: Kaiser junior Matt Bush, Iolani senior John William Chang, Mililani senior Cheyne Eugenio and Waimea junior Kenny Estes.

Bush was the Cougars' defensive leader, a smooth defender with savvy soccer sense.

"He really controls their defense; he was really hard to get behind," Kennett said. "He was everywhere."

Eugenio, who often moved up to be a target for Mililani during set plays, scored four goals in the postseason, helping them capture a fourth straight OIA title. The 5-foot-11 defender patrolled the middle of the field, forcing teams to play wide.

Chang was a solid defender who didn't make many mistakes.

"He usually marked the best forward on the opponent's team, and the majority of the time he would shut them out," Lee said.

Estes was "one of the fastest kids in the state, just very tough mentally and physically," Kennett said. "He can do everything."

Waimea senior goalkeeper Justin Estes, an all-league football player and Kenny's older brother, used his athletic ability in the goal to help Waimea become the first KIF team to reach the state semifinals.

"Very cool, a real team leader," Kennett said.

"He could punt the ball a mile," said Lee, who called Estes' punts "an offensive weapon."

Ah New was selected Coach of the Year for leading Kamehameha to its first state boys soccer title.

Reach Leila Wai at lwai@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2457.

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