KEAAU — Kamehameha-Hawaii beat Honokaa in another Big Island Interscholastic Federation girls soccer match, the third such meeting so far, but this one had much bigger consequences.
Warriors forward Kera Akiyama scored the game-winner 2 minutes into the second half against the Dragons in the BIIF Division II semifinals on Tuesday at Paiea Stadium, giving the Warriors a 2-1 win and a chance to win their first league title since 2009.
“It was a really nice pass from Tiana (Iwata, a midfielder). I was in the right place at the right time,” Akiyama said. “Everyone on the team pushed hard to the end, like the last time (also a Kamehameha 2-1 win over Honokaa). The key was we practiced on our offense, which we had a little trouble with. Our defense and midfield are solid. We worked hard to get the ball in the net.”
Kamehameha (9-3) will play three-time defending league champion Hawaii Prep (9-1-2) at 5 p.m. Saturday at Konawaena for the BIIF Division II championship.
With the elimination of the BIIF quarterfinals, the top four teams in the Division II standings earned berths in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state tournament. Quarterfinals or not, it’s usually no surprise which four teams make it to states.
Hawaii Prep, Kamehameha, Honokaa and Makua Lani have gone to every state tournament since 2009. The last time a different team went was 2008, with Christian Liberty as the No. 4 seed.
Since statewide classification in 2007, Kamehameha and Honokaa have strung together a long run of consecutive appearances. The Warriors have been to states for six straight seasons, and the Dragons a year longer.
Honokaa (6-5-1) will head to states as the league’s No. 3 seed while Makua Lani (4-8) will be the No. 4 seed for the third straight year.
In the regular-season meeting, Kamehameha rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit to beat Honokaa 2-1 at home. Tiffany Pacheco scored the equalizer, and Harper Hottendorf got the game-winner. Monica Carlos scored on a free kick in the first half for the Dragons.
Tuesday’s game was delayed for 40 minutes by the late arrival of the third referee, which added to the anticipation between the two teams on a sunny day with a rather persistent wind blowing at the mauka goal.
It made little difference to the Dragons, who were going against the wind in the first half, at least in the early part. They quickly showed an effective direct attack, scoring 2 minutes into the game.
Right striker Allie Shiraki received a long pass from across the field from Kelly Greenwell, settled the ball to her feet, took a few dribbles and fired before the defense could race back to help for a 1-0 lead.
Then 10 minutes later, freshman Bryana-Marie Ebbers made a run on a ball near the top of the penalty box from Wong Yuen and knocked home the score for a 1-1 tie.
“It’s the same score every time. In the preseason we lost to them 2-1, and in the regular season it was the same score,” Honokaa coach Gerald Shiraki said. “We can’t get over the hump. We moved Allie to forward from midfield to change the lineup. It gave us scoring chances, but we couldn’t finish in front of the goal.
“I think the last time we beat Kamehameha was three years ago. It’s always been close. The last six times have been a one-goal difference.”
Hawaii Prep 5, Makua Lani 1: In the other semifinal, Ka Makani defeated Makua Lani in Waimea. Emily Evans collected three goals and an assist while Nanea Tavares and Marlie Mandaguit added goals for Ka Makani.
Keili Dorn scored for the Lions.
Kealakehe 3, Honokaa 1: Senior forward Avery Hardie-Jordan tallied his team-high 17th goal and an assist, and junior Keoni Yates collected two assists on free kicks near midfield for host Kealakehe, which took a 2-0 lead 10 minutes into the match.
Junior Scott Henderson and senior Connor Keale gave the Waveriders (12-0) a 2-0 advantage with their sixth and ninth goals of the season, respectively.
Junior Justin Warren scored his 17th goal on a penalty kick in the 75th minute for the Dragons (9-2-1).