Makua Lani’s girls soccer team isn’t built to play from behind.
Each time Lions coach John Edwards looks at his bench, he sees only three subs, which makes it difficult to summon the required energy needed to whittle away deficits.
So when Makua Lani prepared for its first-round game at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II state tournament Wednesday on Oahu, Edwards had a simple strategy: get ahead and stay ahead.
The Lions did just that.
Karissa Komo and Tiffany Nakamura scored goals in the first 11 minutes, and Makua Lani beat Kalaheo 3-2 for the program’s fourth consecutive win in the first round of the state tournament.
“The main goal was to get a ball in the net and not come back from behind,” Edwards said. “If we can get out and knock a couple balls in (early), it helps.”
Makua Lani (5-8), the Big Island Interscholastic Federation’s No. 4 seed, will face a familiar foe in a 3 p.m. state quarterfinal today: four-time defending BIIF Division II champion Hawaii Prep (10-1-2). Ka Makani has won the past three quarterfinal matchups between the teams.
Kalaheo (4-8-1), the Oahu Interscholastic Association’s No. 3 seed, will face BIIF No. 3 seed Honokaa (6-6-1) in a consolation bracket semifinal scheduled for 1 p.m. today.
Komo, a junior, quickly got the Lions on their way to the quarterfinals by hammering in her third goal of the season on a 35-yard free kick in the third minute. Eight minutes later, sophomore Keili Dorn delivered a throughball that sprung Nakamura on a breakaway, and the senior striker delivered her team-high 18th goal of the year.
Kalaheo’s Kiana Forsythe cut the Lions’ lead in half with a goal in the 57th minute, but Komo gave the Lions some much-needed breathing room when she headed in a corner kick from Nakamura in the 66th minute to make it 3-1.
The Mustangs’ Hayli Gibson capped the scoring in the 76th minute.
“Kalaheo pushed hard, and we were fortunate enough to hold them off,” Edwards said.
c Leilehua 1, Kamehameha-Hawaii 0: Elizabeth Dumlao scored the match’s lone goal in the 33rd minute, sending the Mules (4-8-1), the Oahu Interscholastic Association’s No. 4 seed, into a 3 p.m. quarterfinal game against defending state champion Mid-Pacific (4-7-1).
BIIF runner-up Kamehameha (9-5) will next face Maui Interscholastic League champion Seabury Hall (3-11-1) at 1 p.m. today in a consolation bracket match.
c Nanakuli 3, Honokaa 1: Mapu Ku gave the OIA runner-up Golden Hawks a 2-0 lead with goals in the 24th and 46th minutes, and Jayna-Ann Santiago put the match out of reach with a goal in the 78th minute.
Nanakuli (6-7-1) will next face Kauai Interscholastic Federation champion Kapaa (6-1-2) in a 3 p.m. state quarterfinal today.
Kelly Greenwell scored her team-high 13th goal of the year for Honokaa.
c Kahuku 2, Kealakehe 0: Renee Oei scored in the 31st and 33rd minutes for the Red Raiders (9-3-3), who will take on OIA rival Mililani (12-0-1) at 5 p.m. today in a state quartefinal.
BIIF Division I runner-up Kealakehe (10-2-2) will play OIA No. 3 seed Pearl City (7-3-4) at 1 p.m. today in a consolation bracket match.