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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 7, 2009

'Iolani girls stay in contention with 1-0 win

Photo gallery: Prep soccer

By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

'Iolani's Amanda McCaskill, left, keeps the ball away from Pac-Five's C'era Oliveira. McCaskill, a freshman, scored the game's only goal.

ANDREW SHIMABUKU | The Honolulu Advertiser

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The 'Iolani girls soccer team changed the outcome of a similar scenario from the previous season when it defeated Pac-Five, 1-0, at Kapi'olani Park yesterday.

"They upset us last year, on this field, and prevented us from moving forward (to the state tournament)," 'Iolani coach Chris Nied said. "They always give us a good game."

With the win, the Raiders remained in contention for the Interscholastic League of Honolulu's two state tournament berths. They are in third place with 18 points (6-2-0), behind first-place Kamehameha's 20 points (6-0-2) and Punahou's 19 (6-0-1).

The Raiders scored in the first two minutes on a goal by freshman Amanda "Ziggy" McCaskill. The goal was set up on a corner kick by junior midfielder Elissa Minamishin from the right side. Pac-Five attempted to clear but the ball bounced to McCaskill, who finished with a low shot into the left side of the goal.

"I thought we were connecting better," McCaskill said. "Usually we start off slow, but today it was pretty quick."

That could be due in part to a line-up adjustment by Nied, who used three forwards instead of two, which "I never do, but I did today because I didn't want a repeat of last season" when the teams tied, killing 'Iolani's playoff hopes.

"It's been an issue for us, getting opportunities, and finishing during those opportunities," Nied said. "Today we did both on the same play. It took a lot of pressure off them immediately."

'Iolani senior captain Stephane Dote said scoring early set "the tone" for the game, and showed that "our underclassmen could step up and others could step up even when we had to change our line-up."

'Iolani played without two starting midfielders, Malia Brennan and Kirsten Adams, who are both out with ACL injuries.

"We've been struggling line-up wise," Nied said.

The Raiders feel they must win out the rest of the regular season or be left out of the postseason once again.

"I realize that although we are in a tough position, we have to take it one game at a time," Dote said.

'Iolani found success down the sidelines, with sophomore forward Krystal Pascua receiving the ball and turning and distributing it to her teammates who would cross the ball for several good opportunities.

Pac-Five, on the other hand, played a mostly defensive game, leaving senior forward Emily Latimer isolated up top to chase down long balls.

"We just try to work hard, and playing these Division I teams is our motivation," Pac-Five senior captain Christine Tamamoto said. "These teams we play against will help us prepare for the teams we will play in states."

Pac-Five (3-3-1), which celebrated a 0-0 tie with Punahou late in December, is the top team in the ILH's four-team Division II. The ILH receives two state tournament berths for its Division II teams.

Reach Leila Wai at lwai@honoluluadvertiser.com.