HANAPEPE — The 2005-06 Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation varsity girls’ soccer season turned out to be a slugfest between Kaua’i High and Kapa’a High, the defending champs, and last night the Red Raiders threw the final blow, with a 3-2 overtime win, as Megan Vento slammed in the golden goal, which gave Kaua’i the KIF championship in the one-game playoff.
“We’re very excited for the girls. They played really hard, and they never gave up. This game meant a lot to us, especially since we have 11 seniors, with nine going to states for the first time,” Kaua’i head coach Blanche Arakaki said.
The raucous Hanapepe Stadium crowd, which was separated between seas of green and red, witnessed a classic KIF soccer game that should go down in history as one of the greatest games ever played.
In the first half, Kapa’a controlled the contest, as Jocelyn Enrique and Brittney Carvalho netted a goal each for the 2-0 advantage.
However, the Red Raiders roared back in the second half, with Rachel Taira and Skye Shimabukuro igniting the fireworks.
After shutting out Kaua’i in the first half, the Warrior defense softened, and the Red Raiders took full advantage with a strong offensive effort in the final period.
Both goalies, Kapa’a’s Poe Gantt and Kaua’i’s Tamalyn Hasegawa, performed at high levels throughout the night.
In the golden-goal session, the Red Raiders made quick work of the Kapa’a defense, as Vento sailed a free kick, which hit the back of the net for the championship win.
“I told them after regulation to not give up, and keep playing hard. We didn’t come here to lose,” Arakaki said.
Up next for Kaua’i is the Hawaii High School Athletic Association/Meadow Gold State Girls Soccer Championships on Maui, which run from Feb. 8-11.
So, will they have today off to relax? “We’re actually having practice today,” Arakaki said with a grin.
Waimea, the KIF boys’ varsity soccer champs, will be heading to O’ahu on Feb. 15-18 for the boys’ state championships.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257), or kauaisports@kauaipubco. com.