HANAPEPE — A shootout before the first ball?
That scenario set the stage for the American Youth Soccer Organization, Region 940 Girls Under 12 championship, Monday at the Hanapepe Stadium.
Before the first ball could be rolled, there was a matter between the Hanapepe Pink Panthers and Lihu‘e Kaua‘i Girls to be settled.
The playoff game between the two teams on Oct. 20 ended with a question on the final shot in shootout resulting in the two teams appearing on the field, the winner of the one-shot shootout advancing to face Kalaloa, a team comprised of girls from the Kalaheo-Koloa area because there were insufficient girls to form teams for each community.
Both teams were successful in their first shots to force a second shot. The Lihu‘e Kaua‘i Girls’ kicker lofted the ball into the wind blowing from the back and the sphere soared over the outstretched goalkeeper’s hands.
The Pink Panthers’ kicker tried the same strategy, but there was too much height, the ball cleared the top bar to send the Lihu‘e team onto the field for the title fight.
Kalaloa, advancing directly to the finals following its 8-3 win over the Lihu‘e (Manual) squad, Oct. 13, was ready, sitting back to watch the waning shootout.
Taking advantage of the wind at its back, Kalaloa built up a 4-0 halftime lead, and held off a strong Kaua‘i Girls comeback in the second half to take a 5-1 win for the AYSO, Region 940 Girls 12 Under title.
Cambria Ort, scoring one goal in its win over Lihu‘e (Manual), used the wind and her power to chalk up two goals from the rightside, the first coming off a breakaway on the wing and ending with a shot from the outside from about 20 yards just about five minutes into the game.
Two minutes later, Bianca Colagrecoll found the net in heavy traffic for her first of two goals in the win.
Seven minutes later, Ort netted her second goal from the leftside, firing through traffic, the ball pocketing in the far right corner as the quarter drew to a close.
Ort, donning the goalkeeper’s jersey in the second quarter, had luck on her side as Kaua‘i Girls’ Shayna Shigematsu, one of the squad’s omni-present players, got a penalty kick.
But the kick went just wide of the goal, preserving the Kalaloa lead.
Midway through the quarter, Colagrecoll came up the middle, firing from about 10 yards out, the ball glancing off the Kaua‘i Girls goalkeeper, Jolina Edurise, and settling into the net for the 4-0 halftime Kalaloa lead.
Lihu‘e took advantage of the wind behind its back, firing off two quick goals by Shigematsu who got her first goal on an assist from Kozlyn Ishikawa who drew the Kalaloa goalkeeper out on her shot from the rightside corner.
Shigematsu was there on the rebound, firing into the goal.
Two minutes later, Shigematsu netted her second goal in traffic, the all-around middle sweeping back for a second effort goal.
But McKenzie Hubbard got control of the ball in its own territory and on a breakaway up the middle, beat out Lihu‘e defenders twice before sealing the deal in the final three minutes of play for the 5-1 final.
Kalaloa, coached by Kurt Viluan, and the Lihu‘e Kaua‘i Girls advance to the Will Veech Inter-regional playoffs and finals at Vidinha Stadium.
The Will Veech tournament starts Nov. 1 and runs through Nov. 5.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.