Kapolei couldn’t muster much offense in the second half of last night’s Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Division championship match with Kaiser.
The way the Hurricanes have been playing defense lately, their lone goal in the first half was more than enough.
Kapolei junior Igor Shchedrev scored with 7:20 left in the first half and the Hurricanes thwarted Kaiser’s comeback attempts in the second to capture the school’s second OIA Red boys soccer title with a 1-0 win over the Cougars last night at Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium.
Kapolei added the title to the OIA championship it won in 2007.
"These guys had something to prove," Kapolei coach Bryce Kaneshiro said. "They were living in the shadow of 2007 and I told them in the beginning it’s time to put our mark back on the soccer community again. We had to prove we’re still a team to be reckoned with."
Kapolei, which began the regular season 2-5-1, will own the OIA’s seeded berth in the JN Automotive/HHSAA Division I Boys State Championship, which begins Wednesday.
The Hurricanes’ 1-0 win over Mililani on Jan. 18 ignited a run of seven straight victories. The streak secured the Hurricanes a spot in the OIA playoffs, then one of the league’s six state tournament berths.
Kapolei then ended Mililani’s three-year reign as OIA champion by edging the Trojans in penalty kicks in Thursday’s semifinal.
The Hurricanes had allowed just two goals during the streak and posted their fifth straight shutout last night in denying Kaiser its first league title.
"When we had a bad start the guys never gave up," Kaneshiro said. "They knew what kind of team we had, and we just had to prove it to ourselves first and then we could keep going on.
"I am just totally proud of these guys. There’s no words I could say to say what kind of chemistry these guys have."
Kapolei peppered Kaiser goalie Lorenzo Reeves with nine shots in the first half, forcing him to make five saves. But the Hurricanes broke through at the 32:40 mark when Shchedrev chased down a ball down the right side. His sliding shot angled into the far corner of the net to give Kapolei the lead.
Kaiser put the pressure on Kapolei in the second half. Bryston Nham had a shot sail wide right and Jason Khamvongsa had a free kick from 20 yards out at the 16-minute mark. His shot hit off the crossbar and a shot off the rebound went over the goal.
The Cougars threatened again moments later, but couldn’t control the ball before Kapolei goalie Preston Wallace-Williams secured it.
Kaiser took six shots in the second half to Kapolei’s one and Kaneshiro spread the credit for Kapolei’s defensive stand during the win streak to the combination of Rowen White, Brandon Begonia, Jake Stensrud and Kamalu Carmack.
"Our defense has been superb," Kaneshiro said. "Can’t say enough of how good a job they’ve been doing."