Kealakehe tops Kapolei, 2-0
• Photo gallery: Kapolei vs. Kealakehe boys' soccer
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Kealakehe boys soccer team enjoyed many happy returns yesterday.
The Waveriders are back in the semifinals of the state tournament for the first time since 2005 after beating Kapolei, 2-0, in the JN Automotive Group/Hawai'i High School Athletic Association Division I Boys Soccer State Championships yesterday afternoon at the Waipi'o Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
"This team is full of seniors, which makes a huge difference because there's a lot of experience," Kealakehe coach Urs Leuenberger said. "If we play at our highest level we can match up with anybody, there's no doubt about it.
"The only thing that is critical for us is we really have no competition on the Big Island. We're 15-0 now and we're not used to playing hard-fought games. That's why the first half, they gave us a fantastic run. It took us a little longer to put it away than we're used to."
Leuenberger is a making a return of his own following a two-year suspension from the state tournament for assaulting a tournament official.
"Now I'm back and glad to be with the boys on the bench along with the co-coaches who have done a tremendous job representing the program," Leuenberger said.
Kealakehe (15-0-0), the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion and No. 4 tournament seed, plays top-seeded Punahou (9-1-3) in a semifinal today at 5 p.m. 'Iolani (9-2-2) plays fellow Interscholastic League of Honolulu member Kamehameha (8-5-1) in the late semifinal, scheduled for 7 p.m.
"It's kind of exciting," said Kealakehe senior forward Lane Lorenzo, who scored the first goal yesterday. "It's the first year we actually have a real chance of doing well, and we're starting to show it. It's fun."
Lorenzo scored on an assist from junior midfielder Ryan DeVerse in the 60th minute. As Kapolei was trying to clear the ball, DeVerse collected it at the top of the 18-yard box and passed it to Lorenzo on his right. Lorenzo finished the play with a shot into the right corner.
"I was just kind of lagging on the wing, trying to stay open, and Ryan fed me a nice ball right there and I placed it in the right corner where I saw an opening," Lorenzo said.
Lorenzo returned the favor in the 74th minute. After Lorenzo's shot was blocked by the Kapolei goalkeeper, DeVerse put away the rebound into the open goal.
"I think we proved we can compete up here," DeVerse said. "During the regular season the competition isn't as good, so we showed today we can compete. I think we can do some things better, but today we did pretty good."
The Waveriders' goals were a result of offensive pressure that also led to the Kapolei defense clearing two shots off the goalline in a one-minute span in the second half.
"I think we played two different teams," Kapolei coach Bryce Kaneshiro said. "In the first half, I think they were kind of feeling us out, and then they realized they could compete and came right at us. We made a lot of mistakes in the middle and left it exposed, and what they did is they took our weaknesses and exploited them."
PUNAHOU 3, MOANALUA 0
Senior forward Sean Hungerford ended an evening of offensive frustration for the Buffanblu when he scored in the 62nd minute.
Sophomore midfielder Kaimi Fairbairn dribbled to the top of the 18-yard box, took a low, driven shot that bounced in and out of the arms of the Moanalua keeper, and Hungerford was crashing the play and shot it into the goal.
Up to that point, Punahou had taken 20 shots to five by Moanalua (9-5-3), without a goal.
Fairbairn ripped a similar shot in the 68th minute, this one going into the goal.
Sophomore forward Quintin Love added an insurance goal in the 74th minute.
KAMEHAMEHA 3, MILILANI 2 (OT)
Kamehameha junior defender Kalai Hanohano scored with four minutes left in overtime to lift the Warriors (8-5-1) into the semifinals.
As the ball bounced around the 18-yard box and the Trojans (12-2-0) blocking shots, Hanohano finally found space and shot the ball into the goal in the sudden-victory period.
Senior forward Kaniela Kaneshiro scored for Kamehameha 2 minutes, 30 seconds into the game. Mililani, the No. 2 seed and O'ahu Interscholastic Association champion, responded in the 19th minute with a goal by junior forward Landon Ouchi.
Kamehameha senior midfielder Ryan Ho put the Warriors up, 2-1, after he chest-trapped a ball and volleyed it into the upper right corner, But Mililani senior midfielder Ryan Akiu tied it again one minute later. Akiu dribbled past a couple of defenders and his shot ricocheted off another defender and the goalkeeper and into the goal.
'IOLANI 3, BALDWIN 0
The Raiders scored two goals in the final five minutes of the first half to reach the semifinals.
Junior midfielder Jason Yuasa scored in the 35th minute and sophomore forward Jordan Lee added a goal in the 38th minute for 'Iolani (9-2-2), of the ILH. Senior forward Nick Goo added a goal in the 62nd minute.
The Bears (7-2-4), the No. 3 seed and Maui Interscholastic League champions, outshot the Raiders, 13-12.
Pearl City 1, King Kekaulike 0. PC: Ryan Tokunaga (56th minute)
'Aiea 1, Hilo 0. 'Aiea: Kris Whaley (53rd minute)