OIA Girls Soccer
Third-ranked Trojans blank No. 10 Na Menehune for 20th OIA soccer title


Sat, Jan 21, 2023 @ Kaiser

Final 1st 2nd OT 2OT PK Tot
Moanalua (12-3-1) 0 0 - - - 0
Mililani (13-1-1) 0 3 - - - 3
M. Ige (66’)   J. Edayan (48’)   I. Maafala (57’)

HAWAII KAI — Tally another title for the Trojans. 

Three different players scored a second-half goal to help No. 3 Mililani to a 3-0 win over No. 10 Moanalua in the championship game of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I girls soccer tournament Saturday. 

The Trojans (12-0-1) laid claim to their record 20th league crown before a crowd of about 600 fans on a calm evening at Kaiser Stadium. 

It was the 11th consecutive win for coach Darren Smith's squad since its lone blemish this season: a scoreless tie with Campbell back on Nov. 29. 

"We worked extremely hard and I think each year has done the same, but this year they were hungry and we started with that mentality right off the bat, during tryouts," said Smith, who has coached his alma mater to the last three OIA championships. 

Mililani also won under Smith in 2020 — just before the COVID-19 pandemic — and again two years later.

"We understood what we needed to do and we continued to raise the bar throughout the season, so it's a huge step for our program," Smith added. 

After a scoreless first half of play, the Trojans broke the seal about eight minutes into the second, when Iai Maafala slotted a through-ball to Jaeda Edayan, who chased down the ball, pulled up before the end line and got off a right-footed shot from a narrow angle that found the right side of the goal. 

"I just saw a fifty-fifty (ball) and so I went up for it," Maafala recalled. "I ended up touching it and (Edayan) was able to run on to it — she made a beautiful run down the line — and was able to put it in the back of the net."

It was Edayan's team-leading 14th goal of the year. 

About nine minutes after that, Maafala put one in the back of the net herself for her 13th goal this season. It was set-up by an assist from Kamalani Yamashita and came off of Maafala's right foot after a quick turn and solid strike on the ball from the junior forward. 

"She's one of those players — I mean, diamond in the rough," Smith said of Maafala, who has scored in 10 games this season.

"She's very dynamic, extremely hard to defend and the ability to finish while running at full speed is unheard of to a certain degree, so hats off to her. She works her tail off day in and day out and it shows," he added. 

Maafala was more matter-of-fact in her recollection of the goal. 

"I got a really nice assist from Kama and I was able to put it in the far left corner," she stated. 

Maafala noted that the Trojans' halftime talk mostly centered around staying even-keel and trusting in their game plan. 

"I think we just had to settle down a bit and go back to how we usually play," she said. "There was a lot of adrenaline going and I think that we just had to build out of our backline and get through the mid(field) and eventually get it to our forwards to get a goal in."

Despite having created a number of scoring opportunities, Mililani manufactured only one shot on goal before halftime. 

"I think we were just getting a little frustrated," Smith said. "The opportunities were gradually getting there, but it was just finding that last connecting pass, or that last run into space and I think at halftime we were able to have that conversation and we said, ‘Hey, remain calm, maintain your composure' and they did just that."

Indeed they did. The Trojans recorded a half-dozen shots on goal after the break; two of their three corner kicks were in the final 40 minutes. 

Thursday night's 3-2 win over an upset-minded Campbell team in the tournament semifinals was also decided in the second half. After the Sabers equalized about 11 minutes after halftime, Maafala netted the game-winning goal in the 61st minute and Mililani hung on to secure its spot in the title game. 

Smith said that the way Thursday's match against the Sabers played out served as "definitely a wake-up (call).

"We had to figure it out, right? It wasn't just going to be given to us — we recognized that — and we had to go back to the drawing board and prep for this one with that mentality of, ‘Hey, look, no one's going to give it to you; You must earn everything,' " Smith expressed. 

Maafala said that the semifinal scare helped her and her teammates keep their focus heading into Saturday's final. 

"We came in with the same mindset of coming to play, coming to fight and coming to win," she described. 

The Trojans added an insurance score on Mari Ige's goal in the 66th minute. Ige assisted on Maafala's game-winner two days prior. 

Maafala credited Ige — along with fellow senior captains, Kailee Wilson and Kayla Sato — for their leadership throughout the year to help the team successfully defend its OIA title. 

"It means a lot to us, especially for our seniors," Maafala said. "They put in a lot of work this season to push us to be the best team that we can be and all credit to them."

It was the 11th shutout posted by Mililani this season. 

Both teams had a bye in Monday's opening round of the 12-team tournament. The West top-seeded Trojans beat Kapolei 6-0 in Tuesday's quarterfinals. 

Moanalua, the No. 1 seed out of the East, edged Waipahu 1-0 in overtime Tuesday, then rallied to a 4-2 win over Pearl City in Thursday's semis. 

Na Menehune (11-1-1) had allowed just seven goals in their first 12 games. They saw their eight-game win streak — since a 1-1 tie with Castle on Dec. 10 — come to an end. 

Saturday's tournament final was a rematch of the 2019 OIA D1 championship game won by Mililani, 2-0. 

Moanalua was trying for its first league title since 2012 and fourth overall. 

Both teams will represent the OIA in the upcoming HHSAA state tournament. 

Mililani will have a first-round bye as one of four league champions, while Moanalua will host an opening-round contest on Jan. 30. 

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].

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