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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveFebruary 8, 2020, 11:50pm
Sat, Feb 8, 2020 @ Waipio
WAIPAHU — Like a prize fighter, Kamehameha withstood everything that Kekaulike threw its way Saturday night.
But in the end, the defending champs landed the deciding blow.
Sophomore forward Anuhea Aluli scored on a shot from distance in the 51st minute and freshman goalkeeper Marley Roe made six saves to help No. 1 Kamehameha complete an undefeated season with its 1-0 win over previously-unbeaten Kekaulike in the title game of The Queen's Medical Center/HHSAA Division I Girls Soccer State Championships.
A crowd of about 350 fans at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium saw the top-seeded Warriors (11-0-2) capture their 10th state crown and fourth under coach Melissa Moore. It came at the expense of the history-seeking Na Alii (11-1-1), who were playing in their first state final.
"What a game. Back and forth, back and forth. Man, that was a crazy," said a exuberant Moore. "They were good, we knew they were gonna be good. Wow, is all I have to say; what a great opponent."
The difference in the score sheet was Aluli's team-leading 10th goal of the season.
Kamehameha withstood a slurry of jabs from Kekaulike for much of the first half, but about 11 minutes into the second half, Aluli struck gold with a blast from the right side of the field and about 35 yards out that rocketed past a leaping save attempt by goalkeeper Kiarlynn Francisco-Pu and into the top left corner of the goal.
"I had space and so I just decided to take it," Aluli said of her first goal in the Warriors' three state-tournament games. "Normally I feel like I would look for Kalia (Kalua) making the run, or (Kamryn Kaleiohi-Haia), or one of the other forwards, but I think they were giving me a little more space than I was used to and so I just decided to take it and it paid off.
Moore credited the sophomore for cashing in one of the few scoring opportunities her team had against a rigid Na Alii defense.
"That's what we needed. We just needed that little bit of space to finish that one opportunity and they did and I mean, it was a perfectly placed shot — what can you do about that?," Moore said.
Aluli's goal was just the third allowed by Na Alii all season and the first since Jan. 8.
It was the second consecutive season that the teams met in the state tournament. Kamehameha overwhelmed Kekaulike, 6-0, in the semifinals last year, before it went on to win the championship game the following night.
This time around, however, the final result was about the only similarity to their previous meeting.
Kekaulike had the better run of play for much of the night, which translated to a 7-to-4 advantage on shots on goals, but Roe and the Warriors' defense — outside-backs Sienna Inouye and Charis Marie Ramos, center-backs Serena Lovell and Tausani Tavale and defensive-mid Caly Ah Soon — were up to the task.
"I mean, as a freshman to keep us in the game in such huge moments, I mean, they had so much threatening opportunities and for her to keep us in the game was huge," Moore said of Roe.
Moore added, "For our back line, who's been solid all year long, to just keep coming up big, keep getting in the way and keep doing what they did all season was huge."
The Queen’s Medical Center/HHSAA Girls Soccer Championships All-Tournament Team(As selected by the media and HHSAA)
Division ICaly Ah Soon, KS-KapalamaAnuhea Aluli, KS-KapalamaMaya Hagiwara, KS-KapalamaTausani, Tavale, KS-KapalamaSienna Inouye, KS-KapalamaTeani Arakawa, King KekaulikeKaehukai Kaaihue, King KekaulikeZoe Asue, King KekaulikeLeiala Aruda, King KekaulikeCaylie Uyema, Pearl City Goalkeeper: Kyanah Blas, KonawaenaMost Outstanding Player: Kalia Kalua, KS-Kapalama
Roe made four saves after halftime and her back line made a number of key deflections on Na Alii scoring chances.
Kekaulike's Teani Arakawa had two direct free kicks from just outside the 18-yard box in the final seven minutes. Her first deflected off of a Kamehameha player, but she gathered the rebound and put a shot on goal that Roe made a sure-handed save on. The second was also initially deflected back to Arakawa, who ripped another right-footed shot, but went off of Ramos about four yards in front of the goal and out of bounds.
"We've seen that before," Roe said. "I just needed to set-up my wall on the closest post and just try and cover the far post and my team did an awesome job setting up the wall and then just making sure to be there on rebound and I give it all to them; it was good."
It was the first time Kekaulike was shut out this season.
"We did have a lot of chances, but what we talked to the ladies about was that we just need that one more player up front because our shots we were taking weren't high-percentage types of shots," Na Alii coach Gundi Dancil said. "The lane was too narrow to give a good score and the goalie could cover it by just being there, so we asked them to fill up the space right away. We tried it in the second half, but we just couldn't get that second-half goal."
Francisco-Pu had three saves, all of them in the second half, for eighth-ranked Kekaulike, the No. 3 seed in the tournament and the Maui Interscholastic League champion.
Na Alii were seeking to win just the third state championship in any sport in school history. The only team from a neighbor island to win a girls state soccer title remains Baldwin, which did it in back-to-back years in 2000 and 2001.
Kekaulike, which saw a seven-game win streak snapped, was the first neighbor-island finalist since Baldwin lost to Pearl City in the 2016 title game.
Dancil, who is the program's only coach since the school opened in 1995, beamed with pride as he looked over his players and reflected upon a thrilling championship game and a memorable season.
"The way that we played is 100 percent different from what we showed last year (in the 6-0 loss to Kamehameha) and we only had one senior on the team last year, so we pretty much most of these ladies were here last year," Dancil said. "I just want to take my hats off to our ladies, who played their hardest."
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