LIHUE — The Warriors are now at the top of the season standings with one match left in the regular season.
Kapaa High School’s varsity boys soccer team defeated Island School, 4-1, Wednesday evening at Vidinha Stadium.
“It puts us in the driver’s seat, but it doesn’t get us to our destination yet,” said Kapaa head coach Kevin Cram. “Saturday’s match will play a big part in that. It’s still up in the air, but we’re where we want to be going into that game.”
Going into Wednesday’s match, both Kapaa and Island School were tied at the top of the season standings.
“It’s heartwarming knowing that we’re on top of the table now,” said Warriors senior forward Joshua Layaoen. “We worked so hard, and then we tied the last three matches. It’s nice to be on top of the table again.”
Kapaa (6-2-3 KIF, 21 points) took advantage of a pair of penalty kicks in the first half for a 2-0 lead. Warriors junior defender Caden Donner took the honors on the PKs.
Warriors junior midfielder Sage Ionna scored minutes into the second half. Then at the 48th minute, Layaoen scored inside the 18-yard box to extend Kapaa’s lead to four.
“I feel since we played the ball over and over, I think the (Voyagers) defense opened up because they were playing three men in the back,” Layaoen said. “I feel we overran them because we had more bodies on the field.”
Kapaa will host Waimea (5-5-1 KIF, 16 points) at 11:45 a.m. at Vidinha Stadium. A tie against the Menehune would clinch Kapaa this year’s Kauai Interscholastic Federation varsity boys soccer championship.
Waimea’s hopes of a third-consecutive KIF title were dashed following the team’s 1-0 loss to Kauai High School on Wednesday.
Island (6-5 KIF, 18 points) was down to 10 men minutes after the opening whistle. Voyagers senior defender Kyle Leibow was issued a red card for a handball on a goal-scoring opportunity.
“Soccer is not an individual sport. Ultimately, you make the ball do the work for you and you go down the field,” said Island head coach Sean Magoun. “I thought our kids played fantastic soccer moving the ball around and still getting lots of touches. Credit to Kapaa’s defense as they stymied us frequently.”
He added: “I’m proud of the boys. They played for 78 minutes (with) 10 men. That’s a tough thing for anybody to do.”
Cram said of having the one-man advantage: “Numbers-wise, we had a few extra bodies compared to them. We knew if we could just make them run, we should be able to outlast them. I think that’s what showed up, although they were able to get their goal when time was already winding down.”
Voyagers senior midfielder Ryan Vavinsky scored in the penalty area with minutes left in the second half to avoid the shutout.
Yavinsky had a chance at a second goal as time ran down, but his shot went high.
Island School will host Kauai High (2-7-2 KIF, 8 points) at 10 a.m. Saturday. The Voyagers will stay in contention for the league title with a win and a Kapaa loss to Waimea.
“It’s anyone’s season still. It all depends on who shows up Saturday’s games. And it also depends on the Waimea-Kauai High result,” Magoun said. “There’s a lot of variables there. There’s three teams at the forefront of the league. Really, it’s a dogfight. And that’s what you want to see. The team that’s going to states is going to represent Kauai well because of having these heated contests for the top. That’s a good thing.”
Scoring summary: Kapaa: Caden Donner 2 (4’ PK, 32’ PK), Sage Ionna (42’), Joshua Layaoen (48’); Island: Ryan Yavinsky (80’)
Discipline: Kyle Leibow, Island, red (serious foul play); Emi De La Mora, Island, yellow (unsporting behavior)