At the tail end of the season, Kealakehe girls soccer coach Jim Smith didn’t get “too nervous” about the play of his defense.
Yet again, the Waveriders showed him why Saturday at Kealakehe.
Kiana Fudala scored twice, and the Waveriders recorded their ninth shutout of the season, beating Kamehameha-Hawaii 2-0 to finish atop the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I standings.
The victory gave Kealakehe an automatic berth in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I state tournament, which begins Jan. 30 and runs through Feb. 2 at Oahu’s Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex.
“We accomplished a goal that we’re trying to do, so for me, I’m pretty excited,” Smith said.
Fudala put the Waveriders (9-0-2) ahead to stay with the first of her two goals in the third minute before rifling in a shot from about 20 yards out in the second half.
The defense did the rest.
Smith praised junior Sulley Schuster for another stellar performance in goal. She shut out the Warriors (8-3), who will host Honokaa (6-4-1) in a BIIF Division II semifinal at a time to be determined on Tuesday.
Smith also said the back line of Caili Ebaniz, Kea Mockchew, Sophia Benacquista and Tiara Conn is a big reason why the Waveriders have outscored their opponents 53-3 this season.
Kealakehe allowed one goal to HPA in a 2-1 victory on Wednesday and two to Konawaena in a season-opening 4-2 victory.
Smith called Ebanez the captain of the defense, saying the senior isn’t afraid to point out mistakes to her teammates. More importantly, Smith said, the rest of the players on the back line don’t “take criticism personally.” Also, they have a short memory if they experience a defensive lapse.
“They play harder if they give up a goal, and they cover for each other really well,” Smith said.
The Waveriders went undefeated in BIIF play last year to earn their first-ever trip to the state tournament. They faced the pressure of having to advance through the semifinals in order to do so.
Smith expressed gratitude over not facing that pressure this year, when top-seeded Kealakehe will host fourth-seeded Waiakea (5-6) in a BIIF Division I semifinal on Wednesday at a time to be determined.
“We should be playing pretty loose because we have nothing to lose,” Smith said. “It makes sense to reward whoever wins the league (with a state berth).”
Hawaii Prep 9, Christian Liberty 0: Sophomore forward Bri Vallente scored three goals, giving her eight for the season as Ka Makani (8-1-2) finished atop the BIIF Division II regular-season standings with the home win.
Nanea Tavares added her sixth and seventh goals of the season while Jahnae Purdy, Lauren Pries and Rae Kennon and Gabbie Ewing added a goal apiece for HPA, the top seed in the BIIF Division II playoffs. Ka Makani will host fourth-seeded Makua Lani (4-7) at 3 p.m. Tuesday in a BIIF semifinal.
Goalkeeper Emma Taylor blanked the Canefire (0-11) in goal.
All four teams in the BIIF Division II playoffs will participate in the HHSAA Division II state tournament, which takes place Jan. 30-Feb. 2 at Oahu’s Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex.
Hilo 3, Honokaa 2: Junior Carmen Garson-Shumway scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second half and the visiting Vikings finished the regular season on a four-match unbeaten streak.
Senior Rose Nakamura scored twice for Hilo, which will hit the road to face second-seeded Konawaena (9-1-1) at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the BIIF Division I semifinals.
Freshmen Tia Agdeppa and sophomore Nina Cardoza tallied tying goals for the Dragons (6-4-1), who will visit No. 2-seeded Kamehameha at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Division II semifinals.
Garson-Shumway assisted on Nakamura’s team-high seventh goal in the 42nd minute as Hilo took a 2-1 lead. Cardoza tied the match a minute later off an assist from junior Allie Shiraki, but Garson-Shumway took a pass from freshman Jasmine Smeraglia and converted from 5 yards out in the 64th minute.
Sophomore Ashlyn Medeiros assisted on Nakamura’s goal in the 21st minute.
Playing her final home game, Monica Carlos also garnered an assist for Honokaa, which advanced to the state tournament for the seventh straight season.
The Vikings’ last setback was a 2-0 loss against the Wildcats in Kealakekua on Jan. 5.
Makua Lani 4, Keaau 2: Senior Tiffany Nakamura scored her 16th and 17th goals of the season at Old Kona Airport Park as the Lions finished their regular season 4-7.
Senior Lauren Mabuni added her ninth goal, and Karissa Komo scored her second on a free kick for Makua Lani, which will travel to face HPA in a 3 p.m. BIIF Division II semifinal on Tuesday.
Mahealani Kakazu and Shani Cosma found the back of the net for Keaau, which ended its season 3-8.
Ka‘u 3, Kohala 1: Kaila Olson, Kawai Houvener and Kristina Padrigo all scored in Pahala as the Trojans finished their season 2-9.
The home team of Ka‘u could not identify the goal-scorer for Kohala (1-10).
Honokaa 5, Hilo 2: Junior Justin Warren collected three goals and two assists, and senior Clayton Robinson added two goals and an assist for the host Dragons, who jumped out to a 4-0 lead after 13 minutes.
Senior Dane Miyata got Hilo (6-4-2) within two goals in the second half before Warren capped the scoring with the last of his three goals for Honokaa (9-1-1).
Konawaena 9, Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science 0: J.G. Replogle tallied three goals in Pahoa, giving him 19 for the season as the Wildcats won their fourth straight match.
Gerardo Meneses added his sixth and seventh goals, Mario Malagon also scored twice and Gabriel Magana and Michael Gusman each had one goal for Konawaena (8-3-1).
In match played on Wednesday, the Wildcats defeated Parker 3-2 behind two goals from Kai Dunston and one from Replogle. Paul Gregg scored twice for the Bulls (4-6-2).
Hawaii Prep 4, Christian Liberty 0: Freshman Justin Perry turned a cross from senior Kian Quinlan and a throughball from junior Jack Austin scored his 11th and 12th goals of the season in Waimea.
Perry has scored two goals in six games this season.
Senior Kepa Police added his BIIF-high 24th goal of the season, and senior Ryan Vazquez added his second for HPA (11-1), which can clinch the No. 1 seed in the BIIF Division II playoffs if it beats Parker at home on Wednesday.
Freshman Trenton Wise blanked the Canefire (9-2-1) in goal.
Makua Lani 6, Keaau 1: Senior Elijah Lingenfelder scored his 16th and 17th goals of the season, while sophomore Spencer Todd tallied his first two goals of the season off corner kicks from freshman Kalani Alapai at Old Kona Airport Park as the Lions ended the regular season at 7-4-2.
Junior James Whalen bagged his third goal, and Stephen Kilkenny scored his first for Makua Lani, which has locked down the No. 5 seed in the BIIF Division II tournament. The Lions must travel to face either Christian Liberty, Honokaa or Konawaena in a first-round game on Jan. 29.
Talon Ota scored the lone goal for the Cougars, who ended their regular season (3-8-2). Keaau needs Hilo to beat Waiakea at Hilo Bayfront on Thursday in order to grab the third seed and avoid a trip to face top-seeded Kealakehe in semifinals of the BIIF Division I playoffs.
Ka‘u 1, Kohala 0: Carlos Uribe-Boundus scored the lone goal of the match in Pahala as the Trojans ended their season 3-10.
The Cowboys finished 1-12.
Kealakehe 7, Kamehameha 1: Kealakehe improved to 11-0 on the season with its home victory.
Kamehameha dropped to 3-6-3.
No further information was available at press time.