Punahou topples Iolani, 2-0
|State soccer photo gallery|
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Leila Wai
A young Punahou team exceeded expectations by capturing the boys state soccer title, behind the play of a trio of juniors.
Junior midfielder Will Jensen and junior forward Deryck Lim scored on assists by junior forward/midfielder Nick Love in a 2-0 win over Iolani for the Meadow Gold Dairies/HHSAA Boys Soccer State Championship last night.
"It's a huge accomplishment for us," said Jensen, who scored Punahou's first goal. "At the start of the season nobody expected us to do it because we're young, and we lost a lot of players; nearly half the team last year was seniors."
A crowd of about 3,000 at the Waipi'o Peninsula Soccer Stadium saw Punahou win its first state championship since 1998, and 15th overall.
"I'm shocked still," Punahou coach Bob Clague said. "We had a lot of new players this year, and I was not sure how it was going to turn out. It turned out pretty good."
Punahou, with three seniors, 14 juniors and six sophomores, "had a lot of new players, but we bonded really well," Lim said.
The Buffanblu (15-2-0) were undefeated through the first half of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu season, dropped two games in the second half but ended up as ILH champions.
"We knew we dropped off in form," Lim said. "We knew we had to pick it up a notch because it was the state championships and it was a whole new level."
Iolani coach Chris Lee, whose team finished 14-3-1, said: "I think I saw the best soccer this tournament (Punahou) played all year."
Jensen scored in the 54th minute after Love shot the ball to the right side of the goal and Jensen slid to ensure the ball went into the goal.
"It was going really slow," Jensen said. "I usually never slide; I'm not a slider. It was instincts."
Junior midfielder Troy Yasuda started the play on a throw-in from the right side and Jensen flicked the ball with his head to the left side of the 18-yard box where Love was.
"It was kind of a weak shot," said Love, who was named the tournament's most outstanding player. "I was just trying to get my foot on it."
Love picked up his second assist on Lim's goal in the 72nd minute. Love dribbled past a few defenders to the endline and passed a ball diagonally back to Lim for the open shot.
"(Love) can do the dribbling, that's his thing," Lim said. "I called for the ball and he sent a good cross."
Lim injured his left ankle when he scored in the semifinal game. Before last night's game, he asked Love to make more runs into space and create opportunities, which Love did.
As the second seed, Punahou received a bye into the quarterfinals. Iolani was playing its fourth game in four days.
"In the first half we needed to settle down," Lee said. "Once we did, we created chances. It was possibly fatigue from playing four games. Once the physical part breaks down, the mental part can go, too."
All-Tournament Team: Goalkeeper: Andy Luersen, Punahou. Defenders: Danny Marks, Iolani; Bryson Tamanaha, Kapolei; Josh Edelo, Mililani. Midfielders: Drew Geis, Kapolei; Daniel Phelps, Leilehua; Lee Anderson, Iolani; Will Jensen, Punahou. Forwards: Morgan Langley, Iolani; Deryck Lim, Punahou; Curtis Kiyabu, Kapolei. Most Outstanding Player: Nick Love, Punahou.
Mililani 2, Kapolei 1: The Trojans scored twice in two minutes on goals by sophomore defender Colin Lund and senior goalkeeper/forward Michael Smith to overcome a one-goal deficit.
Lund scored in the 69th minute and Smith scored on a penalty kick in the 71st minute. Kapolei senior midfielder Daniel Garcia scored in the first minute. The Trojans outshot the Hurricanes 24-7, including a 16-4 advantage in the second half.
Waiakea 3, Hawai'i Prep 2: Senior forward Aaron Inouye scored two goals and sophomore forward Ian Watanabe added another for the Warriors. Inouye scored in the 14th and 18th minutes and Watanabe in the 55th minute. Hawai'i Prep senior midfielder C.J. Cintas scored in the 31st minute and freshman forward Korey Tsubota scored in the 65th minute.
Leilehua 1, Moanalua 1 (tie): Leilehua senior midfielder Daniel Phelps scored in the 30th minute and Moanalua senior midfielder Joey Nakamura scored in the 56th minute in a game that ended in a tie because of time constraints.
Reach Leila Wai at email@example.com.