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Prep Football Preview Special
Leighland Tagawa | SLFebruary 11, 2023, 7:24am
Fri, Feb 10, 2023 @ Roosevelt
Makiki — Kamehameha-Hawaii rallied late to secure a 2-1 win against Seabury Hall Friday night at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium.
In a rematch of last year's D2 final, KS-Hawaii freshman Micah Chung scored the game winner for the Warriors.
"As a team, the goal was to win BIIFs first and now on to the championship," said Chung. "Our coach was telling us how we have a target on our backs, so we had to prepare a lot for this and we had a good mentality coming into today. I am just trying my best to do what's best for the team and just work hard."
KS-Hawaii controlled the ball early on and nearly turned that possession into a goal in the 17th minute. The Warriors threw a ball deep into the 18 yard box. A Seabury defender misjudged the header and hit it on frame. Sophomore goalkeeper Trey Cerizo was at full stretch in the air, managed to touch the ball, and push it off the crossbar and away from goal. Cerizo would end up making a total of 7 saves on the night.
However, it was the Spartans that took the early lead when Senior Duke Romanchak scored on a break away in the 23rd minute. Cannon Vines hit a long ball over the top and Romanchak burned past the last defender and calmly slotted home the opening goal.
"The first half, we tried to go over the top but it didn't work," said first-year head coach Gregory Minato. "So we tried to keep it on the ground after that."
Minato was an assistant coach under Gene Okamura last year and is now in charge.
When the second half started, Seabury was the team pushing for the next goal. In the 52nd minute, Elima Dagan hit a low cross into the box that found the feet of captain James Haynes. Haynes made solid contact with the ball, but Jacob Aiona made himself big and blocked the point-blank-range shot.
"It was definitely the turning point," Minato said of Aiona's save.
Facing a 1-0 deficit, the Warriors turned to their one-two goal scoring combo of senior Elijah Dinkel (30 goals) and junior Lucas Kay-Wong (22 goals) for inspiration. The duo would come up big and both were involved in the tying goal.
In the 62nd minute, Dinkel received the ball on the left side of the field. He first fired a left-footed shot at a defender, recovered the ball, and hit a right-footed shot on target. Cerizo made a diving save but pushed the ball right into the waiting presence of Kay-Wong, who slotted the ball home for the Warriors. That was Kay-Wong's 23rd goal of the season.
With the help of the upperclassmen leading the comeback charge, it was Chung's turn to come up big for the Warriors.
In the 73rd minute, Chung ran after a long ball sent from midfield. He collected the ball inside the box, cut it to his right foot, and curled an effort just out of Cerizo's reach to complete the comeback.
These kids, they played their hearts out, said Minato. "From day one, in Hilo, to now. They had a goal and their goal was to come to states and try to repeat. They did great but we have one more game to go. If we play our style, we'll come out on top again."
In the earlier semifinal, PAC-5 defeated Island School 1-0. The Wolfpack will take on last year's winners Kamehameha-Hawaii tomorrow at 5pm.
"All our guys stepped up," said head coach Austin Lorenzo. "Our guys in the back, my keeper, everybody showed up today like they're supposed to. You know, we aren't the best team, but together we're tough to beat. We did our best to try and motivate them. The boys did all the work."
In the first half, the Wolfpack shot a total of 10 times but only tested Voyagers keeper Micah Lindman a couple times. Island School would keep the PAC-5 attack at bay heading into halftime.
"Island school is an awesome team," said Lorenzo. "It was really anybody's game."
When the 2nd half started, a near disaster happened in front of the Voyager goal. Miscommunication in the backline allowed a PAC-5 forward to nearly have a clear chance on goal, but Lindman used his size to shield the ball and clear it away. Lindman was called to action again in the 46th minute by making a diving save on a direct freekick.
The Wolfpack smelled blood and were creating more dangerous opportunities as the half wore on. They won a couple freekicks right outside the 18 yard box and nearly scored in the 60th minute. The ball was played in and the ball was headed within inches of the goal line, but once again, Lindman was there to rip the ball out of mid air to save his team.
The Wolfpack finally found their goal minutes later. Leading scorer Caleb Corpuz took a freekick from half field. His strike was parried by Lindman but not secured. Micah Lee got under the bouncing ball and headed it over Lindman and over the head of a defender on the goal line. This was Lee's first goal of the season.
"I got up and I just wanted it more," said Lee. "Caleb (Corpuz) set me up and he is a really good friend. I couldn't have asked for a better teammate."
This is Lee's first year of playing high school sports. He is currently a junior at Hanalani, but was homeschooled before that.
"He works so hard," Lorenz said of Lee. "Just to see him put one in, it gave us a bit more leverage. It gave us fire and helped us get the job done. Micah is a beast."
The Wolfpack will now try to win their first ever state championship in program history. The PAC-5 girls team claimed the D2 crown last weekend.
"We want to follow in their footsteps and try to win a championship," said Lee. "We just want to win."
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