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Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveDecember 31, 2018, 9:32am
Wherever they are on the pitch, Kelci and Kaylee Sumida have been a prolific pair for the Moanalua girls soccer team over the past three-plus seasons.
With some adjusted roles this year, the fraternal twins find themselves as bookends for Na Menehune, and longtime coach Nikki Dela Pena could not be any happier with their production.
Case in point: Saturday's 2-1 win at Kalani, in which Kelci, a senior forward, accounted for both goals with a pair of headers, and Kaylee, a senior center-back, made big play after big play to halt numerous scoring opportunities for the Falcons.
While Kelci's role — goal scorer — has not changed (she is tied for second in the OIA with Campbell's Hokulei Ishikawa with 16 goals scored this year, one behind Pearl City's Sunshine Fontes), Kaylee's has over the course of this season.
"Kaylee, she's just someone that can play in those positions where we need her. In the beginning, first half of the season, she primarily played offense for us. As the season went on and there were the adjustments that we had to make, she was that player that we needed to sacrifice on the offense to put her in the back to solidify the defense a little bit more," Moanalua coach Nikki Dela Pena said of the HPU-signee.
Going into Saturday's matchup, Kalani first-year coach Brandon Chun made mention of the twins.
"With the twins, they're definitely as talented as it gets offensively and defensively, on both sides of the ball," Chun said when reached by phone Friday morning.
His words rang true Saturday afternoon.
"We knew coming into the game that (Kelci Sumida) is as good as it gets, so we tried to game plan to be aware of where she was, but again, as good of a player she is that sometimes, I mean, you leave her open for a second and she puts it away and secures those chances," Chun said of the University of Hawaii-signee.
Chun certainly took notice of Kaylee's play in the back as well, serving as the last line of defense in front of goalkeeper Alexis Davis.
"She did everything that we talked to the girls about," Chun said. "She has very good instincts and is always in the right spot at the right time. It's just unfortunate that we couldn't capitalize on the few times that we were able to get past her, but she definitely locked it down in the back."
Moanalua got on the board in the 10th minute off of Kelci Sumida's header off a corner kick by Alyssa Enoki.
"It's always a good thing to score early, so I think that helped us to settle down a little bit and try to play our game a little bit more," Kelci Sumida said.
However, there wasn't a whole lot else that Na Menehune did in that first half to Dela Pena's liking.
"We were just really flat. We were flat, we were allowing them to win the first ball, moving after, we were reacting rather than setting up play and taking control and the tone of the game, and the whole first half their style of play was big kicks," Dela Pena said. "It was nice flick-ons, you know, they had the runners there, all of that though we explained to the girls could have just been stopped if we initially won first ball. ‘Get their first ball, stop the attack, we can move on and play our game.' "
Moanalua held a 1-0 lead at halftime. It faced the prospect of playing into the wind in the second half, but largely negated any advantage for Kalani by keeping the ball on the ground and controlling possession.
"Actually, balls in the air, that's never been our strength, so that definitely took composure from these girls to understand and make the adjustments as the game progressed and the winds got stronger, but that's definitely been a weakness and I'm glad that they were able to pull that part of the game together," Dela Pena said.
Kelci Sumida made it a two-goal lead for Na Menehune when she put away a header in the 62nd minute, off a cross from Amanda Kobayashi. It was her fourth multi-goal game this season.
The Falcons also made some adjustments at the intermission, which eventually led to Jordan Okuhara's sixth goal on the year in the 76th minute.
"I feel like (Moanalua) definitely sat a little bit deeper in the second half," Chun said. "They weren't giving us as much time on the ball, so I felt like they were high-pressing, but other than that, I thought we had just as many chances in the first half as we did in the second. We adjusted (in the second half) as far as positioning, which gave us more chances later on, but by then it was kind of too late."
The win pushed Moanalua (6-0-1) into sole possession of first place in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I East standings with two games to play. The top two teams will clinch a first-round bye in the 12-team league tournament.
"It was really big for us; this game meant a lot. It really puts us in a better position going into our next game," Kelci Sumida said.
Despite the victory, Dela Pena knows her team's best soccer remains ahead of them.
"It definitely showed us again, that we still have some work to do. Every team we've played, we've been able to scout, we've been able to make adjustments on what we need to do, make sure we fine-tune ours," Dela Pena said. "We definitely did not play well the first half, so the second half it was nice to see them respond to the adjustments we asked of them and with any team, you know, a team that can adjust and make that response, is always gonna be a better team in the end."
As for Kalani (5-2), it fell to fourth place with the loss, but Chun expects to get a handful of players back from winter break trips or illness — which left him with 13 varsity players and four JV call-ups for Saturday's game.
"My message to them right after the game was that as bad as the loss feels, a game like this just proves though, that these girls, the hard work that they put in, they're able to hang with any top team in the OIA," Chun said. "Again, we've clearly got more work to do, we gotta match intensity better, but with all the work that they've put in — 1-0 against Kaiser, 2-1 here — they've proven that the program is back on the right track."
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