POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 31, 2013
~~<p>First-year Punahou girls soccer coach Starr Johnson is impressed with how her team has bounced back from both of its losses this season.<br />
First-year Punahou girls soccer coach Starr Johnson is impressed with how her team has bounced back from both of its losses this season. But to keep moving on in the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Girls Soccer State Championships, a lot still needs to improve. "We need to put the ball in the back of the net more," Johnson said. "We're creating a lot of opportunities and we're possessing the ball, but we need to put away more goals." After missing states entirely last year, the Buffanblu got goals from seniors Jensen Toner and Dempsey Banks to defeat Pearl City 2-0 on Wednesday in a first-round game at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park. Punahou (11-2-1), which has won three of the past four state titles, will play No. 3 seed and Maui Interscholastic League champion Kamehameha-Maui (12-2) in a quarterfinal game today at 3 in the main stadium. The Buffanblu played for the first time since losing in a shootout for the ILH championship last Friday against 'Iolani, which earned the No. 1 seed in states. "We've rebounded really well from the two losses we had," Johnson said. "The last one ended in a shootout and nobody really feels like the winner deserves to win or lose when it ends in a shootout, but as soon as it was over our spirits were right back where they needed to be and the girls were fired up to get excited (for) this week." Toner gave Punahou the ever-important first goal in the 12th minute after Pearl City failed to clear a ball from deep inside its territory. An errant pass went to junior Lauren Candelario, who found Toner wide open in the middle for an easy score. It was a critical mistake by the Chargers (7-3-4), who despite getting outshot 8-2 in the first half, only trailed by the one goal at the break. Pearl City coach Dr. Frank Baumholtz said his team lost to Punahou 8-0 the last time the two teams played in the opening round at states. In order to avoid another blowout defeat, Baumholtz said he had to go way back in time to find the right strategy. "If you've ever read a soccer book before 1900, you would read about what we did today," Baumholtz said. "In those days it was all defense and nowadays it's all offense, but when you're playing a superior opponent — an all-star team like Punahou is — you've got to defend them." Pearl City did its best to hold off a steady Punahou attack, but had to sacrifice on offense to do so. The Chargers attempted only three shots the entire game. Banks put the game away in the 62nd minute on a pass from Kelli Santos. She managed to get behind the defense and pushed an easy goal past Pearl City goalkeeper Ariela Bali, who finished with six saves. Punahou controlled possession and finished with a 16-3 advantage in shots. Starter Noelani Kong-Johnson made one save before she was pulled for backup Aaliyah Fesili in the 66th minute. OTHER DIVISION I Kaiser 4, Waianae 0 Cori Papapa scored twice and the Cougars had no trouble with the Seariders after settling in. Kaiser hit the field tentative and missed a lot of opportunities until Jaylin Swartz got a huge run and bounced a shot off the top of the crossbar and in for the game's first goal in the 23rd minute. After that, Kaiser (12-1-1) dominated a Waianae team that it beat 4-1 in the OIA playoffs. "We weren't scared, we just came out excited and frantic and all amped up," Swartz said. "I think that's why we looked so helter-skelter out there." Papapa followed with goals in the 43rd and 53rd minutes and Kelsie Suzuki added another in the 70th. Waianae was without OIA leading scorer Sonest Furtado, who suffered a knee injury in the OIA tournament. Furtado is a junior and will return next year, when expectations will be higher for a school that is in a state tournament for the first time since 2009. The Seariders lost 12 seniors off last year's team. "Our goal was to make it through the first round of the (OIA) playoffs," Waianae coach Vince Ramos said. "We thought it would be a rebuilding year this year but the girls stepped up." Kaiser hits the stadium for a quarterfinal game with Konawaena. Kaiser and Konawaena played a preseason game on the Big Island and the Wildcats won 3-2. Kaiser coach Adolph Samuels and Konawaena coach Guy Miranda were classmates at Farrington and there will be some talking after today's tilt. "It is going to be a fun one," Samuels said. "They have a really good team."
Moanalua 4, King Kekaulike 1 Storm Kenui scored three goals, two of them off headers, and Na Menehune rolled over Na Alii. Nikki Higa got the party started for Moanalua, scoring just two minutes into the game. Kenui followed with goals in the 32nd, 39th and 78th minutes, with King Kekaulike's Kayela Santiago registering one in the 64th minute. Moanalua (12-2) lost out on an OIA championship when it lost in PKs to Mililani in the semifinals of that tournament. But when Kenui is on her game like she was on Wednesday, Na Menehune can beat anyone. Even top seed 'Iolani, which clashes with them in tonight's match at 7. "She is a consistent player, definitely someone we have used all season," Moanalua coach Nikki Dela Pena said. "Going into a tough game tomorrow, knowing that we have got her in a good rhythm, we are in a good place right now." 'Iolani knocked Moanalua out of the tournament in the semifinals last year. Division II Leilehua 1, Kamehameha-Hawaii 0 Elizabeth Dumlao scored in the 33rd minute and the Mules knocked out the BIIF's second-place team. Leilehua (4-8-1) was the fourth OIA team in and moves on to play top seed Mid-Pacific today at 3 p.m. on field 9. The Warriors (9-5) meet Seabury Hall at 1 p.m. on the same field. Login for more...