On even footing - for now
KEALAKEKUA — Tuesday night’s Kealakehe vs. Konawaena girls soccer match was the epitome of a crosstown rivalry game. In a rematch of last season’s BIIF championship, the teams battled to a hotly contested 1-1 tie in rainy conditions at Julian Yates field.
For Kealakehe (0-0-1), it was the team’s BIIF debut and head coach Jim Smith was satisfied with the result.
“It was a good start,” Smith said. “The first half they played hard, but I think in the second half we missed out on some 50-50 balls.”
Konawaena (1-0-1) won its first game of the season 5-1 against perennial Division II contender Kamehameha-Hawaii and had hoped for a better result against the team they beat for the BIIF title last season.
“It went alright,” said Konawaena head coach Guy Miranda. “I think we were outhustled a lot and missed on our chances. By doing that we missed out on two important points in the standings.”
Kealakehe struck first with an early goal by junior Logan Harris in the fourth minute. Harris received a pass from Brittney Prados directly in front of the net and easily put the ball past Konawaena goalkeeper Taiana Tolleson.
The assist was not the only great ball of the night by Prados. The junior forward made multiple passes that materialized into scoring chances for the Waveriders.
Konawaena tied the game up in the 20th minute with a long free kick by Chloe Delaney that her coach described as “fantastic.” The ball was placed no more than a foot from the sideline and the junior midfielder delivered a strike just over the head of the Kealakehe keeper.
Konawaena held the advantage in terms of possession, but the speedy Kealakehe offense exploded for scoring chances throughout the game.
“It was good for our first game, but I would like to slow it down a little more on offense instead of rushing so much,” Smith said.
Waverider turned Wildcat Ana Tuppein had a few of the Konawaena chances, but midway through the second half went down with a lower-leg injury.
“Fatigue kicked in at the end when I had to slow down my rotation because of Ana and Shayli Nakamoto being out with injuries,” Miranda said. “I could not sub as much as I would have liked. That’s what makes this game so beautiful though. You never know what’s going to happen.”
As the minutes ticked off the clock and the rain picked up, so did the intensity on the field.
Kealakehe possessed the ball for the majority of the final minute and had multiple chances to net a game-winning goal. However, Tolleson and the Wildcat defense were up to the task and the final buzzer sounded with both sides tied at a point apiece.
Rivalry games are often filled with physicality and Tuesday night was no exception.
“It’s always physical when we play Konawaena,” Smith said. “The girls were getting pretty flustered by some of the calls. It seemed a bit one-sided.”
Despite the deep-seated rivalry, there was obvious mutual respect between the squads.
“They are a good team and it’s always an honor to play against them,” Miranda said. “They deserve the tie.”
Both teams are in action on the east side of the island Saturday — Kealakehe at Hilo and Konawaena at Keaau.
Kamehameha 9, Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science 0
Logan Uyetake netted a hat trick as the Warriors got goals from seven different players to win at Paiea Field in Keaau.
Kaonohiokalaealohilohinei Muller, Kahulaliokalaukolu Reyes, John DeRamos, Ric Moke-Rabang, Chance Aguiar-Chartrand and Dominik Pajimola also scored for Kamehameha (2-0-1).
Goalkeepers Sean Miday and Jonah Brown shared in the shutout against Na Naia (0-3).
By Stephens Media Hawaii sources