If there’s one trait about Konawaena’s boys soccer team that stood out in Phil Fukushima’s mind, it’s discipline.
The Wildcats showed it on Saturday at Oahu’s Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex, playing Kalaheo to a scoreless tie in the third-place match of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II state tournament.
Because of time constraints, the match ended after regulation time expired.
“What we were most proud of is the mental play — learning how to finish the game strong and not break down your shape to give up a late goal,” said Fukushima, Konawaena’s assistant coach. “As the season went on, we became much more disciplined.”
Fukushima said the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion Wildcats (12-4-3) and Oahu Interscholastic Association Mustangs (11-2-2) had opportunities to score late in the match, with the goalkeepers for both teams making key saves.
Coran Yamamoto dove to intercept a dangerous cross with about 10 minutes remaining, and Kalaheo’s goalkeeper got his hands on a Bailey Hanato header with less than 5 minutes left.
“Both teams had their chances, both teams played very hard,” Fukushima said. “It was a battle in the midfield.”
The match ended Konawaena’s best season in 32 years.
Before the state tournament, the Wildcats won their first league title since 1981. With just three players graduating this spring, Konawaena is in a position to challenge for another BIIF crown next year.
“We’re hoping to keep building,” Fukushima said.
c Hawaii Prep 4, Farrington 1: Senior Keisuke Ohtaka scored his sixth goal of the season on a blast from 30 yards out, while Ryan Vaszquez, Isaiah Kamaka and Dylan Ryan also found the back of the net for Ka Makani, which jumped out to a 2-0 lead 15 minutes into the fifth-place match.
Jansen Wong scored the lone goal for the Governors (6-8-1). Ka Makani, the BIIF’s No. 3 seed at the state tournament, finished its season 14-3.
HPA will graduate just five seniors from a squad that won the league’s regular-season title to earn an automatic state berth. Ka Makani coach Richard Braithwaite said the team wants to make an appearance at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex’s stadium field next year, and that requires making the state semifinals.
“I’m super proud of the boys,” Braithwaite said. “I think we played excellent soccer all year.”
c Kamehameha-Maui 2, Kealakehe 1: The BIIF champion Waveriders fell behind 2-0 before Connor Keale tallied his 11th goal of the season in the 76th minute of the third-place match.
Chandler Ah Lo and Brennan Joaquin scored in the 31st and 47th minutes, respectively, for the Maui Interscholastic League champion Warriors (13-3-1).
“To be honest with you, there was not much left in the tank (after a 4-0 loss to Punahou in Friday’s state semifinals), but it was very honorable the way they (conducted) themselves,” Kealakehe coach Urs Leuenberger said of the Waveriders, who finished their season 15-2-1.
Leuenberger called Keale “the best stopper Kealakehe has ever had,” and he said the group of seniors Keale, Jason Kuwada, Avery Hardie-Jordan, Logan Whitney and Nathan Libadisos was the “core of this successful run.”
“I have to hand it to them for guiding a fantastic team effort and showing these youngsters what it takes to compete,” Leuenberger said.
c Hilo 1, King Kekaulike 1: Senior Adryan Vidad’s goal in the 69th minute earned the BIIF runner-up Vikings (9-6-3) a draw for seventh place.
Lionel Mills had given Na Alii (10-2-4) a 1-0 lead with a goal in the 36th minute.