Honokaa High’s boys soccer coach said he could use her at forward. The Dragons’ football coaches did use her as a place-kicker. In a girls preseason soccer match over the weekend, she left her mark on one unsuspecting defender with a booming set piece.
The point being: Allie Shiraki can really kick the ball.
The football coaching staff noticed as much and gave her a chance on kickoffs during the Big Island Interscholastic Federation season.
“I was just out there kicking for fun when they asked me,” she said. “It was fun and it was something new.”
The coaches had her angle the ball to the 20s, and the only caveat was that Shiraki, who stands roughly 5 feet 5 inches, wasn’t allowed to tackle.
“There was one game where a guy almost scored a touchdown because I wasn’t allowed to hit him,” she said.
The one time she lined up for a field goal came with a chance to give the winless Dragons a third-quarter lead against Keaau, but the snap was low and Shiraki never got to try.
“It was fun watching her out there,” said Gerald Shiraki, her father and the Dragons’ girls soccer coach. “I wish she had a chance to kick a field goal. She was hitting 40-year field goals in practice.”
Her scoring chances will no doubt pick up during the soccer season, and she’ll have just as much of a chance to show off her leg.
Honokaa has six starters back, but with many of the returning faces heading to unfamiliar places on the field, it’s a completely different team in many ways. Shiraki and goalkeeper Hailey Paglinawan are the only seniors, and Shiraki is the only player remaining from a core group of five that formed Honokaa’s nucleus the past two seasons.
The Dragons, who have lost to Kamehameha in the BIIF semifinals the last two years, may not be spectacular but they have consistent in reaching every Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II tournament since its inception in 2007.
“Our leading goal-scorer graduated,” Shiraki said, “so I’m trying to pick up that role.
“Right now we’re just trying to get to states. It’s my senior year so I want to make it one more time. I have faith in us.”
The two-time first-team all-BIIF selection was called on to create plays last season, but this year she’ll try to be more of a finisher at center midfield or forward. Gerald Shiraki has been impressed with freshman forward Kahea Muraki in the preseason, and Nina Cardoza will shuffle up top after starting at fullback a year ago. Cydne Correia also has earned playing time with her hard work.
The Dragons will start three underclassmen at midfield. Sophomore Tia Agdeppa gained seasoning last season, sophomore Jeana Altura will start for the first time, while Sarah Sedillo was labeled as a promising freshman by her coach.
Center fullback Hia Kapu and Paglinawan are the only two returning starters who are reprising their roles. Mia Nakachi moves over to the center of the backline, while Ka‘uilani Loo and Ashlynn Kaiamakini take the outside spots.
“We’re just trying to figure things out and move the pieces around,” Gerald Shiraki said. “They’re doing all the right things. It’s just going to take some time. Hopefully by the middle of the season it will look better.
“The girls are really unselfish. I like the way they’ve bonded together.”