HHSAA Girls Soccer
HPA wins fifth straight crown on Zarate's goal


Sat, Feb 10, 2018 @ Waipio

Final 1st 2nd OT 2OT PK Tot
Hawaii Prep (15-2-0) 2 1 - - - 3
KS-Hawaii (12-5-0) 2 0 - - - 2
J. Zarate, HPA (48'), E. Higgins, HPA (11'), K. Ambrosio, KSH (16')

WAIPAHU — It took a youth soccer team to make Jordan Zarate realize there was hope she could return to form from injury.

Hawaii Preparatory Academy is glad Zarate decided to come back. Zarate scored the go-ahead goal in the 48th minute in a 3-2 win against top-seeded Kamehameha-Hawaii Saturday night for Ka Makani's unprecedented fifth consecutive The Queen's Medical Center Division II Girls Soccer State Championship.

A Waipio Penisula Soccer Complex Main Stadium crowd of 1,724 watched the battle of Big Island teams.

With the game tied at 2, Zarate scored from 15 yards after a corner kick by Mari Camacho. It was an emotional night for the senior midfielder, who contemplated sitting out her last year of eligibility after her second torn ACL she sustained early last season, which she missed.

"This is special for her," HPA coach Stephen Perry said. "Last year, she was on the bench in tears at the end of the game, not being out there. She was just a force this year. Tonight, last night, never came off the field. Her and Jenna (Perry) covered so much pitch and I'm happy for them."

Zarate said last year's right ACL tear was her second. She also tore her left ACL when she was 12. In the offseason, she coached a youth team called the Waimea Strikers. The fun and passion she saw from her players made her realize she had to give it one more try.

"I'm just incredibly lucky to be back out here," Zarate said. "This is an amazing team and considering I tore my ACL two times already, every game is a blessing. I'm just incredibly lucky to be out here playing with these girls. Up until October, I was done playing. I'm done and then I decided to try out. I tried out and stuck with it and now I'm just so happy because these girls are probably the best people, the best team I've played with cohesively. Together, they're one giant family. They make be feel included. I'm just happy to be a part of this team."

But it was the Strikers who lit her fire.

"Beginning of spring season, I was coaching them twice a week and seeing them out there, seeing how much they're smiling and laughing and how much they enjoyed the game," Zarate continued. "I watched them and they inspired me. They're having a blast out there, why can't I?"

In their unprecedented fifth-straight title, Ka Makani has won 16 state tournament games in a row, but this was the first of their five that they entered unseeded, having lost to the Warriors, 1-0, in PK loss for the BIIF D2 title. This, like the previous four, was special in its own way for Perry, who has taken HPA to states in every year of the D2's inception in 2007.

"This was a hard one," Perry said. "Of course my girls are on the team (Julia and Jenna). Of course this means a lot more. It's a special group, really close all year long. It's for them. They had to deal with a lot of stuff during the year. We just had to hunker down and stay together as a team, especially when they lost to (the Warriors) early on. We were second-guessing ourselves, but I think we had some of our best practices after that."

Junior forward Emi Higgins got the ball rolling for HPA. Mari Camacho's corner kick eventually found its way to Teah Van Bergen and from the right side, passed to Higgins, who booted the ball from seven yards in the 11th minute to give HPA a 1-0 lead.

But five minutes later, Kaila Ambrosio boomed a 45-yard direct kick into the net and the Warriors tied the game at 1.

Ka Makani regained the lead on another set piece when Kahele Welsh scored off of Higgins' direct kick in the 23rd minute. But a minute later, Hiilei Wong Yuen scored from 15 yards to cap a high-scoring first half.

"We just kept telling ourselves, ‘Keep going,'" Higgins said. "If we can score, we can score again. We shut them out in the past, so we can do that again too. We had to keep pushing and everybody did their hardest."

Two of HPA's scores were off corner kicks.

"They scored two goals off of set pieces," Warriors coach Joshua Woodard said. "We probably could've done better, but the girls played hard."

In the second half, Ka Makani adjusted defensively, playing tighter on the Warriors.

"We kind of gave them too much space," coach Perry said. "We had to mark up on them a little more tighter and make them have to give it up (the ball) earlier. We did a little bit better on that. We plugged the middle and we needed to make sure we used our middle, go short to our center-mids, instead of going long because that's what (the Warriors) want. They wanted us to kick long because they had five guys back."

This was HPA's 34th overall state tournament appearance. Ka Makani had made 22 appearances prior to the advent of D2.


The Queen's Medical Center/HHSAA Girls Soccer State Championships Division II All-Tournament Team
as selected by the media and HHSAA

Hiilei Wong-Yuen, KS-Hawaii
Kaila Ambrosio, KS-Hawaii
Jenna Perry, Hawaii Prep
Julia Perry, Hawaii Prep
Teah Van Bergen, Hawaii Prep
Jordan Zarate, Hawaii Prep
Brianna Binder, Kapaa
Hevani Haunga, KS-Hawaii
Isabella Police, Hawaii Prep
April Barnes, Kapaa
Maia Mills (GK), Hawaii Prep

Most Outstanding Player: Emi Higgins, Hawaii Prep

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at [email protected].




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