Kamehameha wins DI title
|Photo gallery: HHSAA State Girls Soccer championships|
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Leila Wai
WAIPAHU — The Kamehameha girls soccer team won its third straight state championship last night, becoming just the second program to do so.
"The first one blew my mind. The second snuck up on me. This one was so far out in left field, I don't even know what to say," Kamehameha coach Michele Nagamine said. "And you know me, I'm Portuguese. When does that ever happen to me?"
Sophomore forward Courtney-Rae Botelho scored to help the Warriors beat Punahou, 1-0, in the JN Automotive Group/HHSAA Girls State Division I Soccer Championship at the Waipi'o Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
"It was tough (in the beginning of the season)," said Botelho, who scored eight minutes into the second half. "But we came together in the end. It's awesome. Lots of people doubted us and we proved them wrong."
Kamehameha went undefeated last season, but this season lost several games in the preseason and twice — "decisive losses" to Punahou and 'Iolani, according to Nagamine — in the second round of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu.
"It's phenomenal how they turned it around," Nagamine said. "It says a lot about them as people. And that's way more important than how they are as players."
Kamehameha (13-2) and Punahou (12-2-2) have won the last six state championships. They are the only two programs to win three straight (Punahou also won from 1983 to 1986 in a six-team tournament format).
"It feels great," said Kamehameha goalkeeper Kanani Taaca, the tournament's MVP. "We worked so hard to get here. This was our goal all along.
"It was an accomplishment for the whole team; the defense did really well."
The Warriors' defense didn't allow a goal in the state tournament. Taaca said the three state titles "feel the same. Each was significant."
Botelho's goal in the second half ended the scoreless drought in an evenly played game featuring teams that knew each other well. They played each other four times, including a preseason game, and many players are teammates in the offseason.
Kamehameha senior midfielder Sanoe Souza made a sweet move in the middle to feed Botelho into the 18-yard box. Botelho beat a defender in a foot race and shot past goalkeeper Alana Munger in the 48th minute.
"Sanoe passed it to me, and it deflected off a defender," Botelho said. "There was no one in front of me so I took it and shot it to the back door.
"Punahou is always a good team. (Nagamine) told us to put the pressure on first. We knew once we scored first they would be out of the game."
The top-seeded Warriors had another chance on a cross from the right side, but junior midfielder Amber Fuller couldn't connect after a backpost run and her shot was blocked.
The Buffanblu tried to answer on a long cross from the left by sophomore defender Jasmine Kauka that found junior midfielder Monica Arnold right in front of the goal, but Taaca ended the play in the 65th minute.
Punahou coach Matt Martinson said the Buffanblu "were looking to get a goal early. We needed the momentum to break the ice. But they scored instead.
"(The close game) wasn't surprising. Any time they play, it's going to be a good game with high competition, physical play and momentum swings. We had some momentum, but we just couldn't sustain it."
Punahou junior defender Mari Carmichael had the best chance by either team in the first half but her free kick from just outside the 18-yard box was chipped high. Her shot was set up after freshman forward Lahaina Zoller was taken down by a hard tackle in the 26th minute.
Reach Leila Wai at 535-2457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mililani 0, Pearl City 0: O'ahu Interscholastic Association foes Mililani and Pearl City ended the season in a 0-0 tie. The game did not go into overtime because it was a consolation game.
Moanalua 2, Konawaena 0: Na Menehune freshman Tiana Fujimoto scored her tournament-leading fifth goal in the 49th minute. Kayley Killion added another goal in the 63rd minute for Moanalua.
Goal scorers—Moan: Tiana Fujimoto (49th), Kayley Killion (63rd).
Kapolei 2, Kalani 0: The Hurricanes struck early on a fourth-minute goal by Liana Gualdarama, and Kristina Behrens extended the lead in the 49th minute.
Goal scorers—Kap: Liana Gualdarama (4th), Kristina Behrens (49th).
Reach Leila Wai at email@example.com.