'Iolani girls deny Punahou, 2-0
• Photo gallery: Iolani vs. Punahou girls' soccer
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
The 'Iolani girls soccer team picked up a "huge" victory over Punahou yesterday, its first in at least five years.
The Raiders beat the Buffanblu, 2-0, at Punahou School to move into a tie for first place with the Buffanblu. Both are 7-1-1 with 22 points. Kamehameha is third at 7-1-0 and 21 points.
"It's a huge win for us," 'Iolani coach Kristin Masunaga said. "First round, tying them (2-2) and losing to Kamehameha, pretty much we're in a must-win situation. They know that and they came out to play today."
With only three to four games remaining in the ILH schedule, the competition for the league's two state tournament berths is starting to tighten.
"It just makes every game important," Punahou coach Matt Martinson said. "We have to approach each game like it's the championship and do our best."
'Iolani sophomore midfielder/forward Malia Brennan scored in the 10th minute off a Sam Dacanay cross from the right side. The Punahou goalkeeper knocked the ball across the face of the goal and sophomore midfielder Twyla Hamasaki was crashing the left, back post to keep the ball alive. Brennan emerged with the ball from the crowd of Buffanblu and shot into the goal.
"I just saw the beautiful cross from Sam and there was a lot of confusion and I just saw the ball open and I knew I had to put it in the back of the net," Brennan said.
"It's just pretty incredible," Brennan added. "We've been working for this for a while and it's awesome to get the result that we wanted."
'Iolani changed its formation to one Masunaga said it would likely keep for the remainder of the season. The Raiders moved to three forwards instead of two.
"It worked well; it was a good change," said Brennan, who moved to forward from the midfield.
A minute after the start of the second half, junior midfielder Krystal Pascua scored on a header off a throw-in by senior forward Elissa Minamishin.
"She had a super nice throw, it was super long," Pascua said. "I just timed the ball and waited behind the (defender) and it went right over her head and it went in."
"It's huge," Pascua said of the win. "You don't know how much this means to us. We're stoked."
It was just the third and fourth goals allowed by the Buffanblu in nine games, with the other two also coming from 'Iolani.
Sophomore goalkeeper Lexi Felix helped the Raiders keep it scoreless, with Punahou bombarding her with shots from the outside and off of crosses.
"First half, I think we counted nine opportunities," Martinson said. "The ball is bouncing around the goal, It gets frantic, bodies are flying around. The ball just couldn't find its way into the net. 'Iolani clamped down when it needed to."
Note: The Kamehameha-Punahou girls soccer game will be webcast live from Punahou Friday, beginning at 4:15 p.m. To view the game go to www.punahou.edu/webcasts.