Lexi Cuaresma recorded a hat trick and Mika Bettencourt added two more goals to propel Kealakehe past Keaau 5-0 on Saturday in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation girls soccer match at Waverider Stadium.
“This was the most complete game we have played so far,” Kealakehe head coach Jim Smith said. “We have had a hard time scoring goals this season. We got really good soccer from the girls today, passing and moving the ball.”
Kealakehe improves to 2-1-2 with the victory, while Keaau drops to 1-2-1.
Smith attributed the win to a change in the team’s system. The Waveriders previously ran a 4-4-2, but recently switched it up to a 4-5-1, which has resulted in more chances on the offensive end — especially for Cuaresma.
“They seem to like it,” Smith said. “The girls were a little against it at the beginning, but results like this should help. The defenders even get to move up and get in the play more.”
Kealakehe was missing five players, including three regular starters, who were away for vacation. It was also playing without starting goalkeeper Sullivan Schuster, who is out with a concussion. Freshman Alysha Prados took over in net and recorded the shutout in her debut.
The win was an important step for the Waveriders, but Smith believes the parity in the BIIF leaves the title up for grabs.
“I think the girls side is pretty equal,” Smith said. “There are not any teams who really stand out. No one has broke away from the pack.”
Kohala 5, Ka‘u 0
Two goals apiece from Genevieve Boyle and Gabriella Boyle in Pahala paced the Cowgirls to their first victory of the season. Jamie Skelton also added a goal for Kohala (1-4).
Teshna Gihuis recorded the shutout in net against the Trojans (0-6).
Kealakehe 9, Keaau 0
The Waveriders got goals from nine different players on their home field to invoke the mercy rule before halftime and move into first place as the lone undefeated team in Division I.
“They get to enjoy an extra 40 minutes this weekend at the beach or something,” Kealakehe head coach Urs Leuenberger said. “It’s not like we came out to slaughter anybody — there were nine different goal scorers. We have a lot of young players and games like this help them learn the system.”
Joshua Lopez, Scott Henderson, Keoni Yates, Laukoa Santos and Kyle Nickelson all scored goals during an eight-minute span, and Daniel Caudell, James Caudell, Alex Grace-Finley and Ari Mench rounded out the scoring for the Waveriders (4-0).
Yates also recorded two assists and sophomore Greyson Moore and freshman Ian Denzler combined for the shutout against the Cougars (1-4).
Kealakehe managed to get in all 25 players in the shortened match, which Leuenberger saw as a great experience booster for the younger players on his talented squad.
“To be honest, the boys had a lot of smiles on their faces and there is no pressure in a game like this. The subs get in and get to try a few things,” Leuenberger said.
Ka‘u 2, Kohala 0
Raycin Salmo-Grace and Derrick Velez scored two goals apiece to carry the host Trojans (2-5).
Andrew Garcia and Anthony Emmsley-Ah Yee split the shutout in net as the Cowboys fell to 2-5.