HANAPEPE — Freshman Alyeemomi Amaral netted a hat trick, or three goals scored, to lead the Hilo Vikings to a 7-1 win over the Waimea High School Menehune Saturday afternoon at Hanapepe Stadium.
“This is a nice way to end our trip,” said Hilo assistant coach Skee Saplan. “After losing to Kapaa, 4-1, and Kauai, 11-1, it’s good to have the girls leave on a winning note.”
Hilo is a young team, arriving here after losing 11 seniors to graduation. The rebuilding process saw the 18-member team end up with a dozen freshmen and sophomores.
“It was hard,” said Hilo assistant coach Curtis Chong. “We have four freshmen who have never played before, and our goalkeeper is playing the position for the first time.”
Waimea, under head coach William Trugillo, is also being re-organized. All of the Menehune girls are playing at the varsity level, so they won’t field a junior varsity team this year.
“It’s a work in progress,” said Waimea assistant coach JJ Simbre. “The last time any of these girls touched a soccer ball was nine months ago.”
Hilo struck early, Amaral netting the first goal in the sixth minute on a breakaway from the right pocket.
She followed that goal in the 26th minute on another unassisted effort, challenging Waimea goalkeeper Kailani Yamamoto one-on-one.
With the goalkeeper trying to recover, Amaral got her hat trick, netting her third goal a minute later.
“We made some adjustments from the previous games,” Chong said. “We have four strong defenders and went to a two-back defense.”
The adjustment worked, keeping Waimea out of scoring range for most of the half.
But Menehune defender Julia Hirano was called on to do a penalty kick in the 32nd minute. The kick went clanging off the crossbar, but Hirano was open for a second effort that sailed past Hilo goalkeeper Ashley Mendes.
The Vikings wrapped by a 4-1 half when Danielle Brown netted her goal in the 38th minute.
Hilo continued to the net in the second half with three goals. Mehana Sabato-Halpern, rated the No. 3 girl in state cross country, beat out her defender in the 44th minute.
Midfielder Alysha Medeiros pushed her ball in the net at the 58th minute and Lauree Anne DeMattos capped the win with a goal in the 79th minute.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Saplan said. “Our goal was to have at least nine games before the season start because we have girls from all over. We need to have them playing together before the season starts. This is still a work in progress.”
Following the Kauai road trip during which they played three games, Hilo will host its tournament this weekend; Kauai High School plans to participate. Following the tournament, Hilo is signed up to participate in the Hawaii Preparatory Academy tournament during the Thanksgiving weekend. Kapaa High School is scheduled to play in that.
Simbre is envious of that schedule.
“We need to have the girls playing more,” he said. “Even if they play community, at least they’ll develop the touch. We still have a lot of work ahead of us.”
The Kauai Interscholastic Federation soccer season starts Dec. 20.