HHSAA Boys Soccer
Eighth-ranked Na Alii hold off No. 2 Kalani


  



Thu, Feb 15, 2018 @ Waipahu


Final 1st 2nd OT 2OT PK Tot
Kekaulike (9-2-3) 1 1 - - - 2
Kalani (12-2-1) 0 1 - - - 1
J. Medeiros, KKE (70'), C. Taniguchi, KKE (26'), C. Sigler, KLNI (80')

WAIPAHU — This one was a program-building win for King Kekaulike.

Cade Taniguchi and Jerycho Medeiros scored one goal apiece and No. 8 King Kekaulike held off No. 2 Kalani in the quarterfinals of The Queen's Medical Center/HHSAA Division I Boys Soccer State Championships at Waipahu's Masa Yonamine Athletic Complex Thursday afternoon.

Na Alii, the Maui Interscholastic League runner-up, improved to 9-0-3.

The Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Falcons, seeded second overall in the tournament, suffered their first loss to fall to 12-1-1.

King Kekaulike will play sixth-ranked and third seeded Hawaii Prep in the 5 p.m. semifinal at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium Friday.

"I think the guys are going to be stoked, they've been looking forward to it," Na Alii co-coach Tye Perdido said. "It'll be a great experience for them to be able to step on the pitch inside the stadium and even getting broadcasted (on TV), so for them it'll be a new experience and something that they can look back on for the rest of their lives and be proud of."

The game was originally scheduled to be played in the Waipio main stadium Thursday, but heavy rains on Oahu Wednesday forced all four D1 quarterfinals to be moved to nearby Waipahu.

Despite the change in playing surface from Waipio's natural grass to Waipahu's artificial turf, it did little to slow down King Kekaulike.

"We're not used to playing on turf, but I don't know, I think we just kind of disregarded it and just played our game. We didn't really think about it," said Taniguchi, a senior forward.

Taniguchi put his team ahead in the 26th minute. His shot from the right flank found the left side of the net, just inside the left post.

"Basically I just got the ball, I laid it off to one of my teammates, Connor Prados, and I kind of opened up towards the right outside of the field, I got the ball back and I saw the keeper was kind of pulled to his front post and the back post was kind of wide open, so I decided to just take a risk and I shot it and it ended up paying off," Taniguchi said.

Na Alii's one-goal lead held through halftime until the 70th minute, when senior midfielder Jerycho Medeiros found the back of the net on a shot from distance that just did cross the plane of the goal to make it a 2-0 cushion.

Kalani avoided its first shut out of the season with Kai Sigler's goal in the 80th minute.

"We didn't know a lot about them," Falcons co-coach Michael Ching said. "We knew that they were going to be good and skilled — I mean, that was pretty obvious, but they were good. They didn't lose all year, so we knew they were going to be tough. It's just one of those things; it wasn't our day."

Each team registered eight shots on goal.

Goakeeper Cody McDonald had six saves for Na Alii and Sena Morimoto made six stops for the Falcons, who will play No. 4 Iolani in a 1 p.m. consolation match Friday at Field No. 10.

Just before its game Thursday, King Kekaulike was witness to MIL champion Baldwin's 2-0 quarterfinal win over Kapolei, which further fueled its drive.

"Yeah, definitely, because we're all out here representing Maui," Taniguchi said. "We're always competitive with them, but we still have a strong bond with them, so it was great to see them win to move on to the next round."

It is believed to be the first time King Kekaulike — which was coming off a 2-1 win over Pearl City in Monday's first round of the 12-team tournament — has reached the state semifinal round. It lost in the opening round last year and was making its first quarterfinal-round appearance since 2011, when it lost to Kaiser, 3-2.

"I think it's a huge step for us. I mean, we've been working throughout the whole season thinking about this tournament and we just remember that last year we were taken out in the first round, we didn't even get to come to Oahu, so this year, we made it and we just wanted to make it all worth it," Taniguchi said.

Perdido said this season's success has been years in the making.

"This year we definitely had high hopes for at least getting to the state tournament and then being able to perform," Perdido said. "We have a good core of guys that have been performing well as a unit. These past couple years they've been coming up through the ranks together and now that we have the chance for them to really shine, I think we're excited to see them do it."

The DI semifinals will be preceded in the Waipio main stadium by the D2 semis between McKinley and Kapaa at 1 p.m. and Kamehameha-Hawaii and PAC-5 at 3 p.m.



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].


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