OIA Boys Soccer
Rough Riders cash in 2 second-half goals to down Tigers for first OIA title since 2016


Sat, Jan 28, 2023 @ Kaiser

Final 1st 2nd OT 2OT PK Tot
McKinley (4-10-1) 0 0 - - - 0
Roosevelt (8-5-1) 0 2 - - - 2
K. Ikeda (67’)   L. Kalani (46’)

HAWAII KAI — Landen Kalani and Kisei Ikeda would not be denied.

The teammates each cashed in on a second-half goal to lead Roosevelt to a 2-0 win over McKinley in the title game of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division II boys soccer tournament Saturday night. 

The Rough Riders (8-3-1) overcame wet and blustery — at times, monsoon-like — conditions before a crowd of about 300 fans at Kaiser Stadium to capture their first league title since 2016. 

"It means a lot because with these guys it was pretty tough in the beginning, but then we all just started practicing, coming together and then it all just clicked like that," said Kalani, a junior midfielder/forward. 

Roosevelt played with a consistent wind at its back for the first half and despite five corner kicks and three shots on goal — two of them by Kalani — it was unable to put any of its chances before the break into the back of the net. 

"The first half it was pretty tough because we were going with the wind and, of course, the ball would be light and so the ball would just glide and it would just go further, so it'd be hard to direct the ball (whether) it's going to go straight down or if it's just going to float straight over the goal," Kalani described. 

The Rough Riders broke through six minutes into the second half, when Kalani was the recipient of a well-played pass out of the central midfield from Kisei Ikeda. Kalani gained control of the ball near the left sideline, then cutback to his right and fired a right-footed shot from just outside the 18-yard box just below the crossbar and into the middle of the goal. 

"It was pretty hard to predict because the wind was coming towards us and I knew that I just had to stall for a little bit and once I stalled I knew the right time to take it and touch it forward and I knew that the outside-back was going hard in, so I just had to cut at the slightest touch and I knew the ball wouldn't go as far off my foot, so I waited and then I took the shot and took the risk," Kalani said of his team-leading 11th goal of the season. 

Roosevelt doubled up its lead in the 67th minute, when it cashed in a Marco Liciona-Hernandes corner kick for a goal by Ikeda. On the scoring play, Liciona-Hernandes played a low service into the middle of the box, Kalani feigned a touch, but let the ball through to Ikeda, who gathered it and unleashed a blast off his right foot from about 12 yards out that found the right side of the net. 

"I thought (Kalani) was going to shoot that, actually," said Ikeda, a senior midfielder. "It went through him, I was able to get a good first touch and place it in."

It was Ikeda's eighth goal this year. 

Kalani took account of his surroundings just prior to Liciona-Hernandes' corner. 

"I knew Kisei was behind me and I trusted him that he would have a perfect touch and good shot after," Kalani said. 

Roosevelt redeemed itself after a semifinal-round exit from the OIA tournament a year ago, when it was the top seed out of the Eastern Division and had a first-round bye, but was bounced by Leilehua, 2-0. 

The result is the Rough Riders' fourth OIA championship. 

Saturday's title game was a rematch of the regular-season meeting that Roosevelt won, 4-1, back on Dec. 7 at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium. 

The Rough Riders, the top seed out of the Eastern Division, had a first-round bye Wednesday, then defeated West No. 2 seed Leilehua, 2-0, in Thursday's semifinals.

McKinley beat West third seed Waianae, 4-3, on Wednesday, then edged West top seed Waialua, 1-0, in the semifinal round.  

The Tigers (4-8-1), who were held to one shot on goal, were seeking their seventh league title and first since 2018. They were shut out for the fourth time this season. 

Both teams, along with Waialua — which defeated Leilehua in penalty kicks, 2-1, for third place Saturday — will represent the OIA in the state tournament in two weeks. 

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].

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