LIHUE — The Red Raider girls started its regular season with a win at home.
Kauai High School’s varsity girls soccer team defeated Waimea, 6-0, Saturday afternoon at Vidinha Stadium in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season opener.
“We’ve been working on a different formation this year,” said Kauai head coach Auika Metcalfe. “We’ve been working on a lot of different movements around for the centers out to the wings, to the defense out to the forwards. We’re really trying to find different ways to distribute the ball. We were able to find a lot of those pockets, and we were successful in finishing.”
Red Raiders junior midfielder Eryka Napoleon bagged a hat trick in Saturday’s win. Her first of three goals came early in the first half as Kauai went into halftime with a 2-0 lead.
Kauai (1-0 KIF) then scored four more in the second half to ensure a home win.
Napoleon scored again from inside the box at the 49th minute.
She then tallied her hat trick in the 53rd minute from just outside the 18-yard box. Kehela Ventura had the assist on Napoleon’s third goal.
“I’m really proud of myself. That never happens for me,” Napoleon said of her hat trick. “I just want to thank my players, too. I wouldn’t have been able to get those shots on goal if we didn’t work around for it.”
Napoleon added about the win: “I think we did good positioning- wise. We didn’t come in thinking too much about it. We wanted to play the ball around, and I think we did good on that — finding all the through balls, making crosses and taking shots on goal at any chance we had.”
Defensively, Kauai was able to to record the clean sheet despite what Metcalfe said is a new back line this year.
“We’re working on movement, on placement and defensive shape,” she said. “But I was really proud of what they did on the start to this year, and I’m excited to continue on this season and see we grow. And (goalkeeper Janelle Puplava) did a great job.”
Waimea (0-1 KIF) had few scoring chances.
“Anytime we start as season, we just need to be ready to play,” said Waimea assistant coach U’ilani Albarado. “I think Kauai High brought that game today to us. So we just got to regroup, adjust and work together as a team.”
Waimea’s Pa’ana Malama- Gomes had a shot on goal at the 12th minute from outside the 18-yard box, but Puplava was there to make the save.
At the 55th minute, Waimea’s Kayley Gardner took a shot from distance, but her ball went straight to Puplava.
“Because we went to preseason and they did fairly well there, I think they know what they’re capable of,” Albarado said. “If we can just continue to have that teamwork and communication, that is the key.”
Kauai next plays against Kapaa at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Vidinha Stadium. Waimea will play at Island School at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Warriors shut out Voyagers in season opener
The Warriors, too, opened their season victorious.
Kapaa High School’s varsity girl soccer team beat Island School, 2-0, late Saturday afternoon at Vidinha Stadium following the Kauai-Waimea match.
Kapaa (1-0 KIF) took the lead at the ninth minute on a goal scored from inside the 18-yard box by Kalista Brigante.
The Warriors extended their lead just before halftime on a goal by Dina Hayes inside the penalty area.
Island School (0-1 KIF) had a chance at an equalizer early in the first half.
At the 11th minute, the Voyagers were awarded a free kick. Island’s Katie Cook took a shot toward goal, but her ball was blocked by a Warriors defender.
In the second half, Cook took a shot toward goal from around the edge of the penalty area, but her shot went wide of the post.
Kapaa will play against Kauai High School at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Vidinha Stadium. Island School will host Waimea at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.