LIHUE — Red Raiders junior winger Kalena Kazen hit a strike from about 20 yards out in the 75th minute to equalize.
With that, Kauai High School’s varsity girls soccer team drew even against Island School, 1-1 on Saturday at Vidinha Stadium in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season opener.
“(Senior forward Caitlyn Cantorna) put a pass to the goal. It came back and I just shot it,” Kazen said about her late equalizer. “I knew if I shot it and placed it that it would go in.
“I was really happy,” she added.
After Kazen’s game-tying goal, Kauai (0-0-1 KIF) then had chances at a game-winning goal, but couldn’t put one to the back of the net. Junior center midfielder Anaiah Christensen had a shot on goal at the 77th minute and sophomore forward Lyndsie Kashima had a crack during stoppage time.
“Some days it’s just like that. You can shoot, shoot, shoot and it doesn’t go in,” said Kauai head coach Kevin Devitt. “We kind of fell apart mentally. Then we regrouped in the second half. I think we dominated more in the second half than in the first.”
“We definitely have to play a little bit faster, and we have to make our shots count,” he said about moving forward into the season.
Island School (0-0-1 KIF) struck first in the 18th minute with a strike from just inside the penalty area, about 10 yards out, from senior forward and team captain Madison Moore. The play was set up with a through pass from junior outside midfielder Jade Murphy.
“I went forward. Jade had an awesome through ball. I ran on to it and took a shot,” Moore said about her goal.
Moore, who was last year’s KIF girls soccer Player of the Year, added that giving up a late equalizer was disappointing but was pleased overall with the team’s result.
“At the end, we really want to keep our heads on tighter to not let late goals in,” she said.
Voyagers head coach Colby Ayonon said he was happy with his team’s performance, considering his players didn’t play any preseason games to evaluate themselves prior to the KIF opener.
“We did have a really small bench today — just a couple of subs. We were trying to deal with that,” Ayonon said. “(Kauai), they do have a deeper bench than us. It was kind of hard that last five minutes, but it was definitely a good battle.
“Kauai High sure came back, and I knew they would in the second half. They probably had a good talk at halftime. They came out to play,” he added.
In the day’s other match, Kapaa’s varsity team beat Waimea 6-0 at Hanapepe Stadium.
The Warriors scored 5 of their goals in the first half — April Barnes and Natalie Devin both scored 2 goals, and Kaisha Davis-Caberto scored 1. Stephanie Cram scored her team’s sixth goal in the second half.
Games won’t played again until Jan. 3. Kauai will play Waimea (0-1-0) at Vidinha Stadium and Island School will host Kapaa (1-0-0).