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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 11, 2008

Kamehameha caps nerve-racking season with title

By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer

It's been a nail-biting season for the Kamehameha boys soccer team, which won its second state title after surviving two straight games that advanced all the way to penalty kicks.

"I was emotionally spent," Kamehameha coach Andrew Ah New said. "My nerves are shot. I really didn't jump or scream or anything, I just got up and heaved a huge sigh of relief."

The Warriors defeated 'Iolani, 2-1, Saturday night at the JN Automotive Group/HHSAA Boys Division I State Soccer Championships at the Waipi'o Peninsula Soccer Stadium.

"It was amazing," said senior Zane Dydasco, the state tournament MVP who was moved to defender from midfielder in the championship game.

"Just even making it to states, coming down to that PK against 'Iolani, to tie it to go to states, and doing it again against Kamehameha-Maui, and then (Saturday) night again, it was crazy," he added.

Kamehameha outshot the Raiders, 4-2, in penalty kicks, winning in that fashion for the second night in a row.

Kainoa Kahui, Dydasco, Gareth Gomez and Ryan Ho made their kicks for Kamehameha and goalkeeper Micah Swain blocked one shot and one 'Iolani kicker missed.

"I kind of saw the guy look the other way to try to throw me off," Swain said. "It's a very unlikely chance (to make a save), and to pull it off and give your team the edge, it's one of the best feelings ever."

After Kamehameha took an early lead on a goal by Kimo Komomua in the sixth minute off a cross from Gomez, the teams traded chances in an intense struggle fitting for two teams that tied in their two previous meetings. 'Iolani senior Blaine Gonsalves tied the score with his fourth goal of the tournament, a left-footed blast in the 49th minute.

The teams battled through a scoreless standoff the rest of the 80-minute regulation, and two subsequent 10-minute overtime periods before the Warriors prevailed in the penalty-kick phase to win their second state title in the past four years. Kamehameha also won in 2005.

"I really wanted this to happen for our seniors who were there as freshmen," Ah New said of Dydasco, Komomua, Kapena Kalehuawehe-Gomes and Hala Kane.

"You know high school, to start it off great, and to end your career in a great way what a feeling," Kalehuawehe-Gomes said.

Dydasco said he and Komomua talked about winning another state title.

"My freshman year it didn't really seem like a big deal," Dydasco said. "I didn't realize how hard it was and how much work it was to win one. It was on Maui (in 2005) and no one was there and no one even knew we won.

"But this year ... is a huge difference. There were so many people (at Saturday's game). It's crazy. "

Ah New changed the game plan a bit when he decided to play Dydasco in the back to utilize his quickness and stabilize the defense.

"We actually struggled with that up until 15 or 20 minutes before the game," Ah New said. "We thought we would start the way we do (with Dydasco in the midfield). He has a lot of experience back there and he's smart and he knows all those boys on the 'Iolani team and he knows their capabilities."

Dydasco's impact was apparent. He patrolled sideline to sideline to help stymie the 'Iolani attack, and made a sliding save to clear the ball off the goalline in the second half.

"It was just instinct," Dydasco said. "I can't explain it. For some reason I knew to go back. Usually I'm kind of lazy and don't want to run back that much, but for some reason ... I just got lucky."

Reach Leila Wai at lwai@honoluluadvertiser.com.