Buffanblu roll in second half to top Kealakehe, 3-1
• Photo gallery: Punahou vs. Kealakehe boys' soccer
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
WAIPAHU— In a near mirror-image of its quarterfinal game the night before, the Punahou boys soccer team came up with three goals in the second half to advance in the state tournament.
The Buffanblu scored twice in an 11-minute span in the second half to come back from a one-goal halftime deficit in their 3-1 win over Kealakehe in the semifinals of the HHSAA/JN Automotive Group Boys Division I State Tournament yesterday at the Waipi'o Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
Top-seeded Punahou (10-1-3) plays fellow Interscholastic League of Honolulu mate 'Iolani for the Division I title tonight following the Division II game between Mid-Pacific and Honoka'a at 5 p.m.
"Just like yesterday (in a 3-0 win over Moanalua). It's a matter of getting the nerves out and getting settled." Punahou coach David Trifonovitch said. "Once we settled, we moved the ball around well. And then it feels sometimes like there's a cover on the goal. We had so many chances, but once we get that first one, it seems to open up the door."
Kealakehe senior midfielder Kane Malone started the scoring early when he headed in a cross from senior forward Lane Lorenzo, who drove to the endline, paused to check where his teammates were, and then chipped a ball to the back post for Malone in the 10th minute.
Punahou senior defender Cody Sia scored the equalizer — also on a header —on a corner kick from the right side by junior midfielder Scott Granger in the 57th minute.
"It felt amazing, because this was the first time I scored in a big game," said Sia, a captain. "I was super stoked when I scored, because this was my last year and I wanted to give it my all.
"I didn't want to give up, especially because we had so much time left."
Buffanblu senior midfielder Christian Patmont put them up for good when he cracked a 25-yard shot that the Kealakehe goalkeeper bobbled into the goal in the 68th minute.
"I saw some open space and took the shot, and it had a bit of a curve on it," Patmont said.
Sophomore forward Quintin Love scored with three minutes left after he blocked a Waveriders clear, raced down the field and shot past the Kealakehe goalkeeper.
"I was coming from the right side and I looked at the keeper and he stopped," Love said. "And he tried to shift back center, and I hit it on the right side of him."
It was the first loss of the season for Kealakehe (15-1-1), the No. 4 seed and Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion, which was playing in the semifinals for the first time since 2005.
"We lost our sweeper (Raydan Bala) in the middle of it and Punahou did a fantastic job of moving the ball around patiently," said Kealakehe coach Urs Leuenberger, who was suspended for two years from the state tournament in 2007 for threatening behavior toward a tournament official by one of his coaches. With Bala out, Leuenberger moved midfielder Brandon Sawada to the defense and as a result "there were less and less opportunities to score."