OIA Girls Soccer
Sabers get late goal to hold off Marauders, remain unbeaten in OIA West play


Tue, Jan 4, 2022 @ Campbell

Final 1st 2nd OT 2OT PK Tot
Waipahu (8-6-1) 0 0 - - - 0
Campbell (11-4-1) 0 1 - - - 1

EWA BEACH — With its 1-0 win over visiting Waipahu Tuesday night, the Campbell girls soccer team kept pace with fellow-unbeatens Pearl City and Mililani atop the standings of the Oahu Interscholastic Association's Western Division. 

The Sabers improved to 3-0 on the season by virtue of an own goal in the 71st minute by the Marauders, who dropped to 2-1 with the loss. 

Campbell controlled approximately 80 percent of the possession, which was reflected in its 15-to-1 advantage over Waipahu in shots on goal. However, muddy field conditions as a result of heavy morning rains on the Ewa plain hampered the home team's ability to finish in the final third. 

"The conditions were so bad we just couldn't get a clean shot on goal so a lot of our shots were going to the goalie or just wasn't quite in the right spot," Sabers coach James Curran said. 

Curran credited Waipahu coach Brent Murakami for implementing a solid defensive game plan. 

"They always come to fight for coach and they packed it in today," Curran said of the Marauders, who were not quite at full strength with a few players out for various reasons. 

"The ball was predominantly in the attacking third, just, like I said, they packed it in and did really good. We could have got better maybe at serving balls from the outside or taking more shots from the outside and getting that second ball or deflection, but yeah, I thought the girls did really, really well," Curran said. 

Murakami was more than pleased with the effort he got from his young squad, which includes nine freshmen — all of whom played in Tuesday's match. 

"Oh, for sure, this was awesome for us. We were short some players — that's no excuse, not taking anything away from Campbell — but definitely going into the game we knew we were short because we really had a very thin roster and we have nine ninth-graders, so this is awesome," Murakami said. "All of the freshmen played today and this was really their first time playing (against) upperclassmen and really good upperclassmen, so to me it was a win-win no matter what the score was; I took a lot away from the way that they played."

The Marauders denied the Sabers for the first 70 minutes of the match before the hosts finally broke the scoreless tie with under 10 minutes to play. 

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A Waipahu foul gave Campbell a free kick from about 30 yards out. Cheyenne Mattos put the ball back in play with her restart, a low kick toward the right post in the area of teammate Jaylee Curran that bounced off a player and found its way into the back of the net. It was determined to be an own goal after it deflected off of a Waipahu defender and past goalkeeper Kendal Cordeiro-Felise. 

"We got a nice little foul right outside the box and Cheyenne Mattos slotted one through on the ground and I think it ricocheted off the defender and went in, but I had a feeling we were gonna score off an ugly goal, like a second ball or some sort of deflection," James Curran said. 

Murakami said his young squad hasn't had much practice time to go over defending that scenario. 

"We haven't necessarily trained that, set pieces and whatnot. We do have a new group of players playing together and free kick in a dangerous area — I think we were just a little bit unorganized, the ball was hit well and it was a mis-clear off of one of our defenders and it's no fault of hers because she played an awesome game — so it's kind of sad that that's the way it ended but, you know, a goal is a goal; we'd take it if we were Campbell," Murakami said. 

It was the only time that Cordeiro-Felise let a ball get past her in an otherwise spectacular outing. The freshman goalkeeper recorded 14 saves, including eight after halftime. 

"Props to the goalie; She made some amazing saves today," Curran said. 

Murakami noted that Cordeiro-Felise only started playing the position this year. 

"Kendal is awesome. I mean, she's just come out — we needed a goalkeeper, to be honest — and no goal-keeping experience and has just been awesome in practice," he said. "She's kind of a no-fear, in-the-moment type of a player so this was awesome for her."

Cordeiro-Felise turned back shots on goal by Jaylee Curran and Mattos in the ninth and 15th minutes, respectively, in the first half. About five minutes into the second half she slapped away a shot on goal by Campbell's Kaelyn Jaentsch that was headed for the bottom right corner of the frame. 

The Sabers kept Cordeiro-Felise busy with a number of shots in the dozen-or-so minutes leading up to the goal. In the 66th minute, Curran's corner kick bounced in front of the goal and was flicked on goal by Kailani Balboas, but Cordeiro-Felise was there for the stop. A few minutes later she saved a solidly-struck shot off the foot of Mattos. 

Murakami said his defense held Campbell's attack off for as long as it could. 

"Yeah and I think in a game like this we're just trying to keep it close, you know. if we extend ourselves trying to play defense and trying to stretch and play offense, we're gonna expose ourself and I thought we did a good job of containing them and once they scored it was now our opportunity to try and get that tying goal, so we had to flip from playing defense to try to take more risks, I mean, if we lost two-zero, same as losing one-zero, you know, we're just trying to get that equalizer."

The Marauders nearly netted the equalizer in the 77th minute, when a Campbell foul gave Erin Kumasaka a free kick from about 45 yards out. Kumasaka sent a ball into the box that bounced in front of Sabers' goalie Kelli Canella and nearly bounced over her head. Canella was unable to gather the ball at first, but eventually covered it up just before it crossed the end line. 

It was Waipahu's lone shot on goal. 

"It was a big ball and it took a really weird bounce," James Curran recalled. "She misjudged it and she probably slipped as well, but props to coach (Murakami) — we went up one-zero and he made the adjustment putting numbers high and we had to kind of make our adjustments on the fly to bring our numbers back — and he got one close and made it interesting."

Murakami praised Canella for the heads-up play after 70-plus minutes of little to no action. 

"Yeah and that's the hardest position really as a goalkeeper: you can do nothing all game and be called upon for a split-second," he said. "On the initial save she missed it and then made a great recovery for her to come and get that ball, because that ball was trickling, I mean, she got it right on the goal line, so yeah."

The Marauders, who outscored their first two opponents (Radford and Waianae) by a combined 18 goals to none, will face another unbeaten next when they visit Mililani (3-0) Friday.

The Sabers will host Pearl City (3-0) that same night. 

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].

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