Hilo Vikings score big during Kauai visit

The Hilo High School Vikings girls soccer team didn’t suffer a loss following two days of games on Kauai.

“Those (Hilo) girls worked hard for two days,” said Roger Taniguchi Saturday afternoon while the Vikings wahine battled the Waimea girls at Hanapepe Stadium. “They’ve got to be tired.”

The Vikings returned to Kauai Friday afternoon to open a three-game series against Kapaa, Kauai, and Waimea high schools on the heels of a daylong rainstorm.

The preseason matches proved to be an opportunity for the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls teams to try their players ahead of the season which opens Dec. 7.

Hilo, a longtime visitor to the Garden Island, proved to be a formidable opponent, and finished with a 4-1 win over Kapaa Friday.

“I believe Hilo is a Division I team,” Taniguchi said. “Their speed of play is quicker compared to our teams who are in Division II.”

Saturday morning, the Vikings left Vidinha Stadium with a 2-2 tie against Kauai before closing the series with a 3-0 win over Waimea at Hanapepe.

“The talent is there, including four freshmen,” said Kapaa coach Kevin Prem. “We’ve just got to put it together.”

Unfortunately, the sick list hampered the Warrior girls on its first outing. Cassie Wilson, Eryka Keogh, both returning Warriors, were sidelined with injuries leaving Kaiemi Moniz, the sole captain, on the field, eventually scoring a goal from the deep right pocket in the second half to prevent a shutout.

“I told the girls not to look at the scoreboard,” Prem said. “Just go out and play some good soccer and have fun.”

Lawrenes “Lolly” Higa, a Hilo senior, opened up the books in the ninth minute to end a defensive struggle.

“She’s one of the girls to keep an eye on during the season,” said Curtis Chong, the Vikings’ assistant administrator. “She’s dangerous, kind of like how Skye Shimabukuro, currently a University of Hawaii player, was when she was at Kauai High.”

Higa finished the tour with four goals following three matches, scoring a goal in each of the games.

Mehana Sabado-Halpern and Jasmine Smeraglia added goals in the 20th and 27th minute to give the Vikings 3-0 lead over Kapaa at the half.

Following a heartbreaking play when Delcee Ramos had a net called back on an offside infraction in the 56th minute, Moniz found the net from deep inside the right side pocket in the 61st minute.

Koholalii “Lii” Maertens sealed the deal from about 30 yards out with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Against Kauai, Hilo allowed Kauai to open the books after Bailey Hanna, a Red Raider sophomore, was fouled near the goal in the 30th minute.

Kaylee Tamura did the penalty kick honors giving Kauai a 1-0 lead, which was answered in the 34th minute when Higa notched her second goal of the trip on a head-first drive to the net, knotting the match at 1-1 at the break. The dive was a repeat of an earlier move when Higa’s shot was blocked by Kauai goalkeeper Kawai Hamberg.

Higa did the honors on a breakaway for the 2-1 Hilo lead less than a minute into the second half.

Jane Garma, a manager for the Waimea team who was at the Kauai game, said the match ended in a 2-2 tie after Joni Hashizume scored on a “beautiful breakaway.”

Kevin Devitt, head coach for Kauai High School, repeated Cram’s sentiments from Friday.

“There’s no question the talent is out there,” Devitt said. “It’s a matter of getting all that talent to pull in the same direction.”

Against Waimea Saturday afternoon, Higa again opened the scoring, finding the net on a charge up the middle in the first three minutes of play.

Serena Nasworthy added a goal in the 36th minute and Maertens iced the win with a goal from the left side in the 41st minute.

“The defense for all three schools was pretty good,” Chong said, “We were able to get off more shots than before, but the schools’ defense limited our scoring.”

Another round of pre-season soccer, this time featuring the boys’ teams, will take the field on Dec. 6 and 7 against Mililani.

The KIF soccer season gets underway Dec. 7 when the Waimea girls travel to Vidinha Stadium, meeting the Kapaa girls with the junior varsity kicking off at 10 a.m. and the varsity girls going off no earlier than 11:45 a.m.

Kauai High School girls will travel to the Island School facility for a varsity game starting at 10 a.m.

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