Sunday | December 10, 2017
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Konawaena savors first Guava Bowl victory over Kaiser

KEALAKEKUA — Konawaena players heard Kaiser girls soccer coach Adolph Samuels was showing off his two Guava Bowl trophies on the Big Island prior to the third annual Guava Bowl between Konawaena and Kaiser Saturday at Julian Yates Field.

The talk provided extra motivation for a Wildcats team that didn’t really need it, and Konawaena kept Samuels and the Cougars from leaving the island with a third trophy.

Chloe Delaney scored a go-ahead goal in the 66th minute, and Melissa Gouveia added a much-needed insurance goal four minutes later as Konawaena beat Oahu Interscholastic Association school Kaiser 3-2 for its first Guava Bowl win.

“We’re just happy we can take the Guava Bowl back instead of (Kaiser) having three trophies,’’ senior Ua Ruedy said.

When asked about bringing his Guava Bowl trophies — 4-foot koa sticks topped by a claw that encases a small ball — back to the Big Island, Samuels said he brought the branches to Konawaena coach Guy Miranda and asked if we wanted to make a perpetual trophy for the annual game.

“I’m not the type of guy who would rub it in their face,’’ Samuels said. “(Konawaena) was fired up. It was real competitive.’’

After Kaiser’s Noelle Mercado tied the match in the second half on a header, the Wildcats swarmed around the Cougars net.

Ruedy had three point-blank chances over a two-minute span, taking a cross from Saxon Nagata inside the penalty box on one opportunity and ripping a shot that sailed just over the crossbar.

But Delaney put the Wildcats ahead when she unleashed a 25-yard shot that flattened out instead of taking a true hop and skidded past Kaiser goalkeeper Alyssa Eng for a 2-1 lead.

Four minutes later, Gouveia broke free for a long run down the left flank and juked out a defender before depositing a shot inside the near post.

“It makes us feel we redeemed ourselves, and the game gave us more confidence,’’ Gouveia said of the Wildcats, who dropped a 2-1 contest to Pac-Five in the semifinals of the Wildcats Wahine Preseason Tournament earlier in the day.

Kaiser pulled within 3-2 on Alicia Chang’s goal in the 71st minute, but freshman Taiana Tolson made a handful of key saves in the final five minutes to preserve the win.

Tolson and Kililani Kunitomo shared time in goal during the match.

Makani Wall put the Wildcats out in front in the 21st minute, when she drilled in a close-range shot off a well-placed cross from Kaulana Ruedy.

Kaulana Ruedy suffered a broken nose in Leilehua-Castle Preseason Tournament on Oahu last week, and Konawaena trainers cleared her to play on Friday.

“She did a lot tonight,’’ Miranda said. “She battled.’’