Roosevelt boys edge Kalani, 2-1
• Photo gallery: Roosevelt vs. Kalani soccer
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
Roosevelt junior Kouki Delfino scored with five minutes left to give the Rough Riders a 2-1 win over host Kalani yesterday in an O'ahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference East Division boys soccer game.
The Rough Riders held on to first place with a 5-1-3 record. Moanalua is close behind at 5-1-2. Kalani fell to 3-2-3.
"Kalani is always good; I guess we just outplayed them in the end," said Roosevelt coach Ed Ota, who gave credit to his assistant coaches, including Mike Yamada, who helped with the team's crosses. "I think we're running more so we're more in condition for the end of the game."
Delfino curled his run around the back side of the Falcons' defense, junior forward/midfielder Brad Pena sent his 30-yard free kick over the defense and Delfino headed it down and the ball bounced into the goal.
"I was just hoping I would get open," Delfino said. "No one was on me, so I just headed it in. ... I didn't think I was going to score, but I scored, so it's a really good feeling."
The teams tied, 1-1, the first time they met this season.
After a scoreless first half yesterday, Rough Rider sophomore forward Austin Ikeda broke through in the 62nd minute. Sophomore midfielder Ben Menashe dribbled up to Kalani's backline of defenders before touching the ball to his right for Ikeda. Ikeda's shot was initially stopped by Kalani goalkeeper Andrew Tepping but Ikeda collected the ball and shot into the empty net.
The Falcons tied it six minutes later on a goal by junior Tye Yamada, who was set up by senior midfielder Mason Nakama. Nakama chased down a long, lofted a pass from senior defender Kalai Maxilom, drove to the endline and slotted a ball across the face of the goal for Yamada.
"We keep telling them, 'Once you score, in the next five minutes, it's the most dangerous, because you have an emotional letdown,' " Ota said.
Nakama, a focal point of the Falcons offense, took or set up several dangerous opportunities throughout the game.
Both teams had chances. Kalani freshman forward Leo Klink saw his header bounce off the crossbar and over in the 15th minute.
Roosevelt's Pena was moved from his central midfielder position outside to the right last in the first half, which resulted in two shots from the outside by the junior.
The Rough Riders' Pena and Brandon Fowler almost connected on a cross from the left by Pena right in front of the goal, but Fowler couldn't get his foot on it.