Boys Soccer
Trojans fend off Vikings in OT; Raiders rally past Falcons with second-half surge


 



WAIPAHU — It will be No. 1 versus No. 2 for all the marbles Saturday night. 

The title game of the Motiv8 Foundation/HHSAA Division I Boys Soccer State Championships will feature top-seeded Mililani and second-seeded Iolani in a matchup of league champions. 

The Trojans escaped with a 1-0 win over fourth-seeded Hilo in the nightcap of Friday's semifinal doubleheader at Waipahu's Masa Yonamine Athletic Complex. They improved to 15-0-0 on the year and will try for their seventh state title. 

After a 80 scoreless minutes of regulation, Mililani scored the golden goal when Mau Uiagalelei found the back of the net in the seventh minute of overtime. He was assisted by Parker Patterson on the goal. 

"I just saw a ricochet from my boy, Parker, and I just knew we had bury it," Uiagalelei said. "We gotta bury our chances and that's what we did; It's a team effort."

The play originated from a corner by from Uiagalelei, who sent it to the far post in the direction of Keegan McGehee.

"We knew that we were gonna serve it in and I had a feeling that Mau would be long (on the corner kick), so I brought Keegan deeper and Keegan just one-timed it back in and we got on the end of it," Mililani coach Steve McGehee said. 

Patterson gave his account of the game-winning goal.

"The ball got fumbled high into the air, I was nearby it so I hunted it down, I tried to collect it. I was initially gonna try take the shot, but I seen there was choke people around me, so — and I seen Mau was making that far-side run — so I tried to play it to him and then he just finished it well, finished it smoothly," Patterson recalled. 

The win was somewhat bittersweet for Patterson, a Hilo-boy at heart. The junior center-back moved from the Big Island to central Oahu a few years ago and acknowledged that had he remained there, he would likely be playing for Hilo High. 

"It's a tough situation, but I moved here because I believed there was better opportunity here," Patterson said. "Nothing against Hilo, it's just, yeah, I just had to come out here and beating them, it has a heavy load on me, but we made it to the finals, it means everything to me at the same time and it's just, it's unreal. It's unreal."

Patterson gave a nod of appreciation to his hometown Vikings, who were seeking a return trip to the state title game. They made a run to the D1 final a year ago, but finished second to first-time champion Kekaulike. 

"They gave it their all, you can tell by the way that they played that they gave their hearts into it and I completely respect that because coming from an outer island, it's a lot harder, so I give them respect for just giving their all when they come to states and making it this far, even last year when they made it to finals," Patterson said.

Mililani, the Oahu Interscholastic Association champion, will be making its first trip back to the title game since 2020, when it lost to Punahou. It was bounced from the championship bracket by Kaiser a year ago in a quarterfinal match that went to penalty kicks. 

"It means everything because we came up short with one of the best teams I ever played with and it was heartbreaking, so we took this one personal and we got our get-back," Uiagalelei said. 

Iolani, the No. 2 seed and champion from the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, came back from a two-goal deficit to record a 3-2 win over OIA runner-up Kalani in the early semifinal Friday night. 

Kalani jumped out to a 2-0 lead after just 12 minutes and maintained the score through halftime. However, Iolani turned the tide after the intermission. 

The Raiders' first goal came three minutes into the second half. A corner kick from Abara was directed to the back post, where Keao Kawaakoa headed it past goalkeeper Robert Pruner and into the net. 

"I just wanted to float it up to Keao," Abara said. "Me and Keao, we've been working on that in practice, getting it up to Keao and then Keao going up and winning the header for us."

Iolani continued to pepper Pruner and the Falcons throughout the second half. It nearly equalized in the 55th minute on another corner kick — this one from Keane Palmer — that Kekama Kane headed off the crossbar. 

Just three minutes later, the Raiders netted the equalizer on a right-footed rocket by Abara from 25 yards out. Abara credited outside-back Brett Nakao for getting him the ball. 

"It was a good heads-up play from Brett and I," Abara said. "We were able to exploit their winger that was coming back, so once I got the ball I knew that I was hitting it inside and then hitting it across the goal."

A Kalani player was whistled for a foul after a slide tackle that took Kawaakoa down just inside the 18-yard box. After a brief discussion between the center official and his assistant referee, Iolani was awarded a kick from the spot. 

There was no discussion amongst the Raiders as to who would take the penalty kick. As he did Thursday, it was Abara who lined up for the PK. 

"No question," Watanabe said. "No question."

Abara put his shot, with plenty of pace on it, past Pruner and into the left side of the goal. It was his team-leading eighth goal. 

"Robert's my club team goalie," remarked Abara, whose PK in overtime of Thursday's quarterfinal win over Waiakea found the lower, left corner. 

"I've been shooting pretty much the same side, but I'm just confident in my ability to put it in the right spot," said Abara, who has scored four goals in two games. 

Watanabe recognized the play of his senior midfielder, who suffered season-ending torn ACL in the preseason for his junior season. 

"Excellent," he said of Abara. 

"I mean, I'm not surprised. This guy is a workhorse and the best thing about him is he loves the game of soccer, he loves his teammates, he'll do whatever it takes for us to be successful so it's not surprise of what he's doing and how he's performing this week," Watanabe said. 

The Falcons manufactured a quality chance at the 74-minute mark, when Chase Kaetsu tried to redirect a cross in front of the net, but Raiders' goalie Tanner Shum punched the ball out to save a goal.

That gave Kalani a corner kick, which Shane Fuse put on the back post. The ball eventually found Logan Wong, whose shot from distance was wide left and not on frame. 

The Falcons (13-2-1) finished with seven shots on goal, but only two after halftime. 

Iolani recorded seven of its 10 shots on goal in the second half. 

"We've been doing it all year, you know, so these guys had to dig deep tonight," Watanabe said. "Our problem has been starting slow; not very good first halves traditionally and at the end of the day we had nothing to lose. We knew that we had to get at least two goals and the boys were up for the task tonight."

Abara said being down two-nil at the break was no big deal.

"We just really wanted to get the win and we know we've been down before," he said. "We've been down one-zero against Punahou and then we were able to come back, two-one, and win the game so we really just focused on fundamentals and then once we got one goal we knew that our momentum would keep us going, especially with this wind, we just wanted to take shots on goal and make the keeper make saves."

The Raiders (8-1-3) tallied 14 corner kicks, while the Falcons attempted just one in each half. 

"We practice crossing, we practice serving, we practice corners on a daily and it feels like we gave away too many opportunities in the first half and we just gotta be a little more consistent, but that's what we've been telling the boys all year: Being consistent over long periods usually results in a win," Watanabe said.

Kalani got on the board just about six minutes into the match. Fujimura cut inside of a defender and received a well-placed pass from Alexander Andrade Portillo. Fujimura took two touches before he sent a ball through to Ethan Senter, whose shot deflected off of the hands of Shut and across the end line. 

Only six minutes after his first goal, Senter found the back of the net for a second time. He drove from the left side of the pitch and found open space in the middle of the Raiders' defense, then fired a right-footed shot from about 25 yards out into the left side of the goal to double-up the Kalani lead. 

Iolani recorded its first shot on goal in the 19th minute. 

Shum made five saves in goal in for the Raiders, while Pruner came up with six stops for the Falcons. 

Iolani is seeking its first state crown since 2014 and 10th overall. 

Kickoff between Mililani and Iolani is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium. It will follow the Division II championship game featuring PAC-5 and Kamehameha-Hawaii at 5 p.m. 



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].




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