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Waimea girls soccer win play-in contest

HANAPEPE — The Waimea High School girls soccer team punched its ticket to The Queen’s Medical Center Hawaii High School Athletic Association state Division 2 championships with a 4-1 win over the Honoka‘a Dragons, Monday afternoon at the Hanapepe Stadium.

“I don’t know what to say,” said an elated and jubilant coach Zenda Octavio following the final whistle at the Division 2 play-in match. “I don’t know if Waimea has ever made it to the state tournament — it’s been so long.”

Waimea took control in the first half, striking with a pair of goals from Jasmine Semblante in the 16th minute and in the 26th minute for the 2-0 go-ahead at the break in the hot midday Westside sun.

Kayley Gardner continued the momentum by finding the goal in the 43rd minute, less than five minutes into the second half. The heat took its toll, withering the Menehune who was liberal with substitutions to cool down the toiling players. Play assumed a maintenance posture in the heat, and Jenessa Freitas found the back of the net in the 48th minute.

The Dragons were not done, stepping up its offensive efforts as the clock ticked down. With less than two minutes remaining in the contest, Dallas Branco’s ball got through traffic to prevent a shutout, 4-1 in the 77th minute.

“I am at a loss for words,” Octavio said. “We’re so proud of the way the girls played on both sides of the ball. They are a great bunch of girls.”

With the win over the Dragons, Waimea becomes the third team from the KIF to participate in the state Division 2 girls soccer tournament when it plays Feb. 5 through 8 at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex on Oahu.

The other KIF teams representing the island at the tournament include Kauai High School who earlier clinched the KIF title, and Kapaa High School who finished as the runner up to the title following its 4-0 win over the Island School Voyagers during the Saturday contest waged at the Island School campus.

Starting in 1989 when the HHSAA started maintaining a tournament record book, Waimea has never once made the champion, or runner-up categories.

“I don’t know,” said Kapaa coach Andrea Alfiler who came to watch the play-in contest. “When we were playing, Waimea had some strong players on the field and they were pretty dominant.”

Octavio said they will head to the state tournament with a 14-person roster.
Source: The Garden Island

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