OIA Girls Soccer
Tolentino, Marauders knock off Na Alii


Tue, Jan 8, 2019 @ Aiea

Final 1st 2nd OT 2OT PK Tot
Waipahu (7-2-2) 1 0 - - - 1
Aiea (12-4-0) 0 0 - - - 0
M. Tolentino, WAIP

AIEA — Mya Tolentino scored a first-half goal to lead No. 6 Waipahu to a 1-0 road win over No. 4 Aiea in the regular-season finale for both teams Tuesday night.

The Marauders improved to 7-1-2 (23 points) on the season with their sixth consecutive victory and brought an end to Na Alii's eight-game winning streak, which dropped them to 8-2 (24 points).

The loss a was costly one for Aiea, which had a chance to clinch the Western Division's top seed and a first-round bye in next week's Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I tournament.

Aiea entered the day with a one-point lead over second-place Mililani and a two-point lead over third-place Pearl City. However, because both the Trojans (8-0-2, 26 points) and Chargers (8-1-1, 25 points) won Tuesday, Na Alii slipped down to third place and will likely host a first round matchup Monday.

Despite the win, the Marauders did not improve their playoff seeding due to both Mililani and Pearl City winning — and consequently, securing the West's two byes — and finished as the fourth seed. They will also play an elimination game in Monday's first round.

Waipahu coach Brent Murakami said it was important for his team to bounce back with a good showing Tuesday after a less-than-stellar performance in last Friday's 4-0 home win over winless Nanakuli.

"It's kind of funny because the game before this was our worst game of this season, so I mean, honestly all we were looking to do today was just play a good game," Murakami said.

"I told the girls all week that it wasn't about the results. The results for us don't matter at this point. The main thing is that we're into the next season — the postseason — and because of our play in the last game, all the focus was to play a good game. It didn't matter what the score was and that's been kind of what the theme was for the week," he added. "Aiea is very good and I feel very fortunate for our team to come in here and to play a good game and then get the result, I think was huge, and hopefully it's good confidence for us moving forward."

Tolentino, a senior center-mid, scored in the 31st minute. She gained possession of the ball after stealing it away from an Aiea player and booted a right-footed shot from the right side of the 18-yard box that hit the inside of the left post — just out of the reach of a diving Shayla Sugai — and into the goal.

"The ball was going to the player in front of me and I saw it going too much to her right, so I just tapped it to in front of her, to the left, and then I just took it and I just shot it and I was praying that it would go in," Tolentino said.

Murakami credited the patience of Tolentino and her teammates up top to pressure, but not overplay passes when Aiea was holding possession in its back third.

"They're so good at moving the ball so we can't be defenders individually, and if that's the case then we're going to get tired, we're going to get exposed. That was our time to just get organized," Murakami said.

It was Tolentino's first goal since Dec. 18, her fifth overall and the sixth allowed by Aiea this season.

Waipahu withstood a heavy assault from Aiea's offense in the game's first 20 minutes, including several shots on goal by left forward Nicole Olanda.

"The first 15, 20 minutes, we were like kind of running around without knowing what to do, because for the midfield, we didn't know who to defend because there were three (Aiea players) and so we were just running all over the place, but once the forwards started pressuring the other midfielder, we were a little bit more settled in and then that's when we started pressuring more," Tolentino said.

However, all seven of Na Alii's shots on goal came in the first half — and each one was saved by junior Amelia Nelson in goal.

"Amelia did amazing; she saved us tonight. If she didn't save those goals we would have been down by a lot."

Aiea registered 23 shots in all, but all seven of Na Alii's shots on goal came in the first half — and each one was saved by Waipahu junior Amelia Nelson. CJ Caraang | SL    Purchase image

Murakami was also pleased with the play of his defense, namely center-backs Kadi Nakamura and Kaylia Makiya, along with outside-backs Jaeda Jimeno and Amber Somera.

"I think the back line was very solid and it was a good thing because we got every player in the game, even players changing in that back line, which a lot of teams in a tight game will keep their back line and not sub ‘em, but we were fortunate enough to get everybody that experience, because like I said, it wasn't about winning today," Murakami said. "It was about getting these players experience because the postseason is only going to get tougher. We may come across Aiea again and it's only gonna be harder, so we wanted to make sure everybody got that experience; We're gonna need all 20 players to be successful."

Aiea registered 23 shots in all to Waipahu's seven, four of which were on goal. It had six corner kicks, including three in the final 10 minutes of play, but was unable to capitalize.

It was just the second time this season that Na Alii were held without a goal. They were playing their first game since Dec. 28, a forfeit win over Waialua last Friday notwithstanding.

All seven of the Marauders wins have been by shut out. They have outscored their last six opponents 31-0 since a 1-1-2 start to the season.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].




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