LEONG WEARS HAT, AGAIN

HANAPEPE — Kapa’a forward Ka’ala Leong went into the bus with a big hat (trick) Thursday.

Not only was it the Warrior’s second hat trick of the season, Leong’s strong leg booted Kapa’a to a 3-2 win over the Kaua’i Lady Raiders.

The Warrior men were missing four players, leaving them with a bench of one, but despite that shortcoming, they were able to tie the Kaua’i men, 2-2.

Leong opened the scorebooks for Kapa’a in the 16th minute after besting the Raider defender in the right pocket and moving the ball to 11 o’ clock for the shot that soared above the outstretched arms of Raider goalie KC Gaitos.

Nine minutes later, Rachael Taira answered for the Raiders on a long shot from the right side that crossed the goalmouth and ricocheted off the left post before settling in the net.

Taira followed that feat with a penalty kick at the 31st minute for a 2-1 Raider halftime lead.

But less than five minutes into the second half, Leong again found the opening in the middle for two quick goals as her shot skied over the Raider goalie who came out to defend.

Leong broke the 2-2 stalemate about five minutes later with another goal that came after the goalie came out to defend.

Defensively, the Warriors stymied the Red Raider offense as Auika Muragin was victimized in the first half, and Emma Makepa-Foley left the game with about five minutes left. With Taira being double-teamed, the Raiders’ offense was pretty much shut down for the night.

Danny Riggle had been practicing his headers for most of the warmup period, and it paid off as he headed a corner kick by Agu Garcia with less than ten minutes peeled off the boys game.

What followed was a defensive slugfest that dominated the game, and in a rare open moment at the goal, Kapa’a tied the contest on a goal by Rayom Ribiero who went one-on-one with the Kaua’i goalie and won.

The 1-1 halftime deadlock was broken by Garcia, who blazed a penalty kick at about the 60th minute for the go-ahead only to have Chance Bukoski stalemate the contest for the second time on a penalty kick.

Despite several scoring attempts and the Raiders dominating the ball, the whistle blew on a 2-2 deadlock to set the stage for Jan. 7, when the Raiders meet up with Waimea, who fell to Kapa’a last weekend.

A Raider men’s victory on Jan. 7 would create a three-way tie.

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