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Kaiser captures its third straight East regular-season title

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    Darryl Oumi / Special to the Star-Advertiser Kaiser's Cori Papapa, left, received congratulations from teammate Alicia Chang after scoring the winning penalty-kick goal against Moanalua.

Both teams knew they would probably need extra time to win the OIA East girls soccer title at Moanalua on Wednesday, and the 45 extra minutes Kaiser senior Alea Amano put in on Tuesday did the trick.

Amano scored the tying goal with two minutes left in regulation and Cori Papapa beat Moanalua keeper Kacie Fujio on the 10th penalty kick as the Cougars won the OIA East title for the third straight year by beating Na Menehune 2-1.

"That just shows what these girls are made of," Kaiser coach Adolpho Samuels said. "They can handle the last part of the game, that’s what that is. They believe they can handle the last part of the game."


Moanalua’s Haley Graham broke the ice in the 71st minute –shaking off the six runs she previously got on Kaiser’s defense that didn’t amount to anything –by beating Brooke Arita at the top of the box before unleashing a shot into the top corner of the goal past Cougars keeper Corina Edgington.

That left nine minutes before Moanalua could celebrate its biggest win of the season and the division title that has eluded Na Menehune since 2011.

But Kaiser went into attack mode from there, and Dior Motas collided with Arita in the box. The center referee apparently saw nothing wrong with the play, but the official on the sideline did and waved his flag to signal a penalty and the free chance that came with it. Motas is a lot bigger than Arita, and Moanalua coach Nikki Dela Pena thinks that had something to do with the call.

"It was, to me, a 50-50, shoulder-to-shoulder bump ball," Dela Pena said. "Sometimes in the game of soccer these refs have to understand how momentum works. A 5-foot-5 girl, 100 pounds going against a 5-foot-8, 150-pound girl, momentum is going to be a part of it. As long as it is not a dirty play and it’s shoulder-to-shoulder and you can clearly hear the bang, it’s fine. It’s my opinion and I am going to stick with it. That bad call cost us."

The Moanalua coach, who won an OIA overall title in 2012 as a second seed, was quick to add that defense in the box on the ensuing penalty kick cost Na Menehune as much as anything. Fujio stoned Allyson Matsuoka’s effort with both hands but allowed a rebound to land at Amano’s feet.

Amano, the OIA East cross country runner-up, stayed after practice for 45 minutes on Tuesday working on shooting, and she beat Fujio for the equalizer. She also converted a penalty kick, along with Matsuoka and Alicia Chang. Nikita Price, Megan Inouye-Ng and Anela Salvador scored for Moanalua. After Amano’s tally in regulation, Kaiser had all of the momentum.

"My eyes got really big," Amano said about the rebound. "I saw that ball and I made sure to keep my body over the ball like my coaches say because lately I have been kicking it over the goal. This team is really close. We weren’t going to give up."

Kaiser (9-1) goes into Tuesday’s OIA tournament as the top seed in the East, while Moanalua (8-2) gets the second spot.

Campbell (9-1) reigns in the West, ahead of Kapolei (9-1). Samuels said his seniors desperately wanted to win the East, but that seeding will mean little this year.

"This year in the OIA we are all so close, it is just going to be who shows up to the games," he said. "I think the top five teams from each side are all close. It is going to be a lot of exciting games."

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