Fujimoto assists in Moanalua's win
• Photo gallery: Moanalua vs. Kahuku Soccer
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
Defenses may key in on Moanalua junior forward Tiana Fujimoto, but she'll still find a way to help get the ball in the goal.
"(Tiana) can create a lot of things, and if we can finish off of what she creates for us, it will keep us successful," Moanalua coach Nikki Dela Pena said.
Moanalua beat Kahuku, 2-0, in an O'ahu Interscholastic Association Red East girls soccer game yesterday at Moanalua High School. Fujimoto, who leads the league with 18 goals, had an assist.
"I just knew that if I create space by getting away, it would leave an open space for one of my teammates to get through," Fujimoto said. "Our coaches tell them too that they can't force me the ball because they know I'm going to be man-marked, so we look for other ways to get it in, like crosses, because we do finish a lot of our goals on crosses."
Moanalua remains in first place (8-1-0) in the division, followed by idle Kalani (6-1-1). Kahuku (6-3-0) is still comfortably in third place. The Red Raiders came off a 3-1 win over Kalani on Wednesday, knocking the Falcons out of first place.
Nā Menehune came away with a 5-0 win over the Red Raiders the last time they played, with Fujimoto scoring four goals. Kahuku, knowledgeable about her scoring prowess, used freshman defender Kayla Taulapapa to man-mark Fujimoto all game long.
"In the other game we saw her, she was their go-to person," Kahuku coach William Mahoni said. "We've done that the last two games, we find out who is the high-scoring person on each team."
In the first half, Kahuku goalkeeper Puanani Silva briefly preserved the scoreless action when she stopped a point-blank shot by Fujimoto in the 21st minute. But on the ensuing play, a long throw-in by sophomore forward Kaimi Morreira hit a Kahuku player before going into the goal.
Ten minutes later, freshman midfielder Storm Kenui scored on a header off a corner kick from the right side by Fujimoto.
"All season we've been trying to say that we have to spread out our offensive attack," Dela Pena said. "We have a lot of girls who can score. I think they are intimidated; they want a lot of success but they aren't that sure of themselves yet."
Kahuku's Mahoni pointed to fatigue by his players, who went to a school dance the night before against his wishes.
"It showed, they were tired. I could tell from their preparation that they were exhausted before they even took the field," Mahoni said.
Midway through the second half, the Red Raiders changed their formation to more of an offensive one, moving a defender forward, to try to spark an attack.
"If we don't take care of it in the first half, we switch in the second 20 minutes of the second half," Mahoni said.