WAIMEA — Konawaena had a week to get ready for a Big Island Interscholastic Federation matchup against undefeated Hawaii Preparatory Academy, and their preparations paid off as the Wildcats sprinted past Ka Makani 2-1 on Tuesday.
“Sometimes a week without playing is not good, but what we did all last week was focus on HPA,” Konawaena head coach Guy Miranda said. “We went down and watched them play Kealakehe and in practice worked on what we felt we needed to do to win this game.”
On top of having a week to prepare, the time away from the field gave Konawaena (5-1-2) a chance to recuperate and nurse injuries to key players.
Chloe Delaney, playing in her first game back after missing time with an ankle injury, put the Wildcats on the board with a booming free kick past HPA goalkeeper Taimane Kamaka from 30 yards out in the 33rd minute.
HPA starting goalkeeper Morgan Monahan exited the game in the opening minutes with an ankle injury.
“That free kick was a real nice shot,” HPA coach Steve Perry said. “It was right into the upper 90. No goalie could block that.”
Konawaena struck again in the 52nd minute with a strike from Kaulana Ruedy on an assist from Ana Tuppein. The goal was one of many opportunities for Tuppein and Ruedy, who used their speed often.
The second goal woke up the slumbering Ka Makani offense. HPA peppered Konawaena goalkeeper Taiana Tolleson with shots and had multiple chances before Teia Knoll finally found the back of the net in the 69th minute.
HPA (6-1-1) made a push in the final minutes to get the equalizer, but the effort was too little, too late.
“I’m always nervous until that final whistle blows, no matter who we are playing,” Miranda said. “It is not very easy coming here. They have talent all over the field, so we are glad to come out with the win.”
The win brings the Wildcats a step closer to gaining home-field advantage in the Division I semifinals, but Miranda knows the top is a logjam of strong teams.
“The race is so close in Division I that it makes these three points mean a lot,” Miranda said. “Because of our two ties we are riding on what is happening to the other teams. We have to win out and try to get home-field advantage in the playoffs.”
Waiakea (6-1-1), Konawaena and Kealakehe (5-1-3) are separated by only three points at the top of Division I, while Hilo (4-1-1) has matches in hand on each.
While HPA suffered its first loss, the team still holds a tight grip on the top seed in Division II and remains the favorite for the BIIF title.
“They hustled, got to the ball and possessed it more than we did for the first 60 minutes,” Perry said. “We were not playing big on the ball and let them take it away from us. But we knew going in that was Konawaena’s game — they play strong on the ball. Next time, we just need to come out with more fire.”
Kealakehe 2, Honokaa 0
Lexi Cuaresma and Vailana Akeo-Taetuna scored goals at Waverider Stadium to power Kealakehe (5-1-3), which is unbeaten in its past seven matches.
Playing for the first time since she suffered a concussion, Sulley Schuster recorded a shutout against the Dragons (4-4).
East-Pac 6, Ka‘u 0
Sol Kislig’s hat trick and a goal apiece by Jordene Picar-Cabal, Jayla Nakayama and Kapua Arsiga lifted the homestanding Firebirds (3-5).
Taylor Feato and Janae Pacheco both had hands in the shutout of the Trojans (0-10).
Konawaena 1, HPA 1
The Wildcats (5-2-2) converted on a penalty kick with three minutes remaining to secure a draw in Waimea.
Ghar Pautz scored off a nifty pass from Austin Schneider to give Ka Makani (4-2-3) the lead early in the second half.
Honokaa 0, Kealakehe 0
The visiting Dragons (6-1-2) bounced back from their first loss of the season by earning a draw to end the Waveriders’ eight-match winning streak.
“Both teams played well but just couldn’t get the ball in the net,” Honokaa coach Maurice Miranda said.
Kealakehe goalkeeper Greyson Moore stonewalled Honokaa, while Elzer Maltezo did the same against the Waveriders (8-0-1).
Christian Liberty 9, Ka‘u 0
Senior striker Nakaiya Kerr netted his fifth hat trick of the season with four goals and Sequoya Kerr added two more as the host Canefire won their third straight.
Koa Caceres, Ben Houston and Ola Hauani also scored for Christian Liberty (6-1), and Kiyoshi Kaili blanked the Trojans (3-9).
By Stephens Media sources