HANAPEPE — Waimea High School girls scored first, and scored last, Wednesday night to force a 2-2 stalemate against the Kapaa High School wahine during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation soccer matches contested at the Hanapepe Stadium before fans huddled and bundled against the chilling Koke‘e winds.
Earlier in the evening, the Warrior men and the Menehune tusseled through a physical defensive matchup where no one was able to close the door on a 0-0 deadlock as the sun dipped below the western skyline.
“There were opportunities for both sides,” said Waimea coach Kapono Chong-Hanssen. “We just couldn’t finish. We didn’t play as well as we could; there were setbacks like the delayed start (due to the Kapaa team arriving late), last-minute personnel changes where we couldn’t play our intended lineup.”
The Menehune had a chance to break the tie late in the matchup when Kapaa’s goalkeeper came out of the box, and Waimea crossed the ball past the keeper. But the Menehune receiver was a few steps out of position and the crowd groaned as the sphere rolled harmlessly past the goalmouth.
Both sides had opportunities, Kapaa settling down following opening adjustments and taking control in the first half. That was not good enough to force the scorebooks as both sides settled on a 0-0 reading at the break. Waimea answered with halftime adjustments and kept the ball on the Kapaa side during the second half, hampered by cramping that peppered the playing field.
“The boys — on both sides — played well,” said Kapaa coach Kevin Cram who led the Warriors to a 2-0 win over Island School during its season opener, Saturday at Island School. “We need to finish on the opportunities we’re given. We still have a ways to go in improving, and we’re grateful to be able to play against good teams — that’s the only way you can improve.”
Chong-Hanssen said despite the setbacks, he too, agreed with Cram.
“Kapaa is a very strong team, and gave us a good match,” Chong-Hanssen said. “It was a very physical game on both sides, and I’m very glad our boys maintained their composure — no one lost it.”
On the girls’ arena, Waimea surprised the Warrior wahine when Kayley Gardner found the net in traffic just minutes after the starting whistle.
Chasing the goal deficit, the Warriors found the answer in the 19th minute when Talia Washington broke away in the middle and found the net at the end of the run coming up the middle.
Maya Loughead broke the 1-1 stalemate with her goal that saw the Warriors take a 2-1 lead that stood until the final two minutes of play.
Waimea’s Jordyn Maruyama entered the arena after the KIF center referee added two minutes of stop time play. Kapaa was fouled near the goalbox and Maruyama took the kick that sailed past the outstretched arms of the Kapaa goalkeeper for the 2-2 stalemate, triggering an enthusiastic outburst from the stands.
Minutes earlier, Kapaa had an opportunity when Kapaa’s Kalista Brigante took an assist from the middle and fired into the shrouding by Waimea’s goalkeeper Kepler Niccore. The follow up traffic forced the ball out and dribbled close to the goalmouth in the face of Menehune defenders and Warrior forwards before settling in the net.
Niccore appealed the score to the official who agreed with the keeper and kept the reading at 2-1 in favor of the Warriors.
“Both teams played well, and we are so proud of how the girls played,” said Zenda Octavio of the Waimea coaching staff. “They hung in constantly throughout the game. This was good for our girls, but we still have to keep working.”
Andrea Alfiler, the Kapaa coach who led the Warrior wahine to a 5-0 win over Island School, Saturday, was also pleased with her team’s play.
“We could play almost everyone against the Voyagers,” Alfiler said after suffering another late-game heartbreaker. “I’m glad the keeper spoke up on that goal. But we need to be able to rise above this and play to another level.”
Kapaa next faces Kauai High School, Saturday when the junior varsity games start at 10 a.m. followed by the varsity squads meeting starting at 1:30 p.m. at Vidinha Stadium.
Waimea will make the trek to the Island School campus where the varsity boys kick off starting at 10 a.m. followed by the varsity girls.
Following the Saturday games, the KIF takes a winter break with the next soccer games returning on Jan. 4, 2020.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island