Love's two early goals help ease pressure on Punahou
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Leila Wai
The Punahou boys soccer team is feeling the pressure of being in first place.
The Buffanblu defeated the Kamehameha, 2-1, in an Interscholastic League of Honolulu game at the Warriors' field.
"When you're at the top of the pile, people put more pressure on you," Punahou coach Bob Clague said. "Everyone likes time to settle (the ball) and Kamehameha didn't give it to us, just like Iolani the other day.
"We didn't play well today. "We had a hard time."
Punahou junior forward/midfielder Nicholas Love scored twice as Punahou improved to 10-1-0 and remained in first place in the ILH. Kamehameha dropped to 9-2-0 but held on to second place.
Iolani, which handed Punahou its first loss Tuesday, remains close behind at 8-2-1. Two teams from the ILH receive berths into the state tournament (A previous report in The Advertiser reported a different number.) The ILH season ends on Feb. 8.
Early in yesterday's game, the Buffanblu exploited the space behind the Kamehameha defense, utilizing through balls for the speedy Love to run on to.
"Their defense was very open; I was surprised," Clague said.
Love scored his first goal in the first minute on a cross from senior Kyle Ertel, who made a run down the right side and found Love running to the far goal post.
"I just ran in from the back door and it went over the defenders and I put it in," said Love, who has 11 goals.
He scored again in the 21st minute on a pass from sophomore midfielder John Cowen. Cowen's pass caught the Kamehameha defense flat, allowing Love to run on to the ball and create space for himself. He pushed the ball far ahead, and the Kamehameha goalkeeper came out to challenge him, but Love cut the ball to his right before shooting the ball from outside the right side of the 6-yard box.
"I just saw a little opening, and I was on the ground and hoping it went in," Love said.
Love said he overcompensated on his first touches on that play because he had two good opportunities in the opening minutes that he missed. Both times Love received passes and was open, but the Kamehameha defense closed on him before he could get a shot off.
"If we had scored those goals early, we would have finished them early," Clague said.
Instead, the Warriors were right back in the game after Love's second goal, because sophomore midfielder Zane Dydasco scored in the 22nd minute on a low shot under the goalkeeper.
"I was feeling pretty comfortable, until they scored," Love said.
Kamehameha tightened up its defense in the second half, creating more offensive chances, as Punahou withdrew and played more defensively, packing its players into its half of the field.
"It's what we're supposed to do," Kamehameha coach Andrew Ah New said of the Warriors' defense. "That quick score didn't help, it put (us) on nails. We may have controlled the second half, maybe because we wanted it. (Punahou) got a little more defensive than offensive."
Clague moved junior midfielder Will Jensen to defense to add a more stabilizing presence, but it took away from the Buffanblu offense.
"We had to play compact defense," Love said. "It wasn't pretty, but you have to do what you have to do. The second half we were trying to play more defense and get the break when we could."
Both teams had chances to score in the second half. Punahou's Ertel had a penalty kick in the 62nd minute, but Kamehameha goalkeeper Evan Collier blocked it. Kamehameha's Gareth Gomez hit the crossbar in the 86th minute.
IOLANI 1, SAINT LOUIS 0
Senior forward Raymond Machi scored for the Raiders.
Note: The Mid-Pacific-Hawai'i Baptist game was moved to Monday at Mid-Pacific at 4:15 p.m. The Pac-Five-Damien game was moved to Monday at Kapi'olani Park Field 2 at 4:15 p.m.
OIA BOYS PLAYOFFS
PEARL CITY 3, CASTLE 0
Ikaika Makue scored two goals and Ty Kobashigawa added another as the Chargers beat the Knights in a first-round match of the O'ahu Interscholastic Association boys championship playoffs last night at Kaiser.
KAISER 5, WAIALUA 0
Jacob Curtis, John Moats, Kaipo Dean, Casey Pelletier and Matthew Bush scored goals for the Cougars in their victory over the Bulldogs at Kaiser
KALANI 2, 'AIEA 1
Kalani outscored 'Aiea 5-4 in the penalty kicks portion after playing to a 1-1 tie through regulation and two overtime periods at Leilehua.
Andrew Harano, Kevin Fujimoto, Nick Fujita, Codi Oshiro and Wataru Kumagai all converted their penalty kicks for the Falcons.
Danny Higa scored for Kalani and and Scott Kawamura scored for 'Aiea in regulation.
LEILEHUA 2, ROOSEVELT 1
Daniel Phelps scored two goals to lift the Mules over the Rough Riders at Leilehua.
Scott Kawamura scored for the Rough Riders.
Reach Leila Wai at firstname.lastname@example.org.