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Kapaa triumphant with late header

LIHUE — Junior winger Max Nice headed in the game-winning goal at the 76th minute to give Kapaa High School’s varsity boys soccer team a 2-1 victory over Island School.

Nice was served the assist off a corner kick by junior midfielder Justin Franklin on Saturday at Vidinha Stadium.

“It was a beautiful ball. All I had to do was get my body behind it and finish,” Nice said. “It felt really exhilarating. It was the last five minutes of the game. We were a little frantic because we weren’t playing a fluid game, but we pushed through and got the win.”

Prior to the game-winning set play, Kapaa (4-1-1 KIF, 13 points) scored the game’s first goal at the 37th minute when senior forward Keale Lee found the net from inside the 18-yard box.

“We’ve worked on our set plays and finally we got one to go in,” said Kapaa head coach Gary Hudson. “We do work on it because we got some guys with height and can finish with their head. It was nice to see we finally got one like that.

“Island School, they played a good, scrappy game. We just can’t seem to win an easy game,” the Warriors coach added. “We like to do it the hard way, but the boys stuck to it. They played hard and persevered again.”

Voyagers senior center midfielder Michael Miller scored an equalizer inside the box at the 55th minute.

“My opponent was going for the ball, but then it went towards me. I saw my opportunity wide open in front of the goal and hit it with the side of my foot to the top left,” Miller said. “It felt so good to get that equalizing goal.”

At the 16th minute, Kapaa was awarded a penalty kick. Sophomore forward Tiernan Kehoe took the shot, but was denied with a diving save from Voyagers sophomore goalie Andres Elzaurdia.

Island School head coach Sean Magoun said despite giving up the late goal and the chance at finishing with a tie, he’s pleased to see his team play hard in a competitive match.

“Give credit to Kapaa for being at the right spot at the right time. We had our chances for sure, but we just didn’t capitalize,” he said. “Those are the kind of games you like to watch. It came right down to the wire, and that’s healthy competition right there.”

Kapaa will play against Kauai on Wednesday at Vidinha Stadium. The varsity boys match is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Island School (0-6-0 KIF, 0 points) will host Waimea at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

– Warriors freshman forward April Barnes broke the scoreless tie with two goals scored within three minutes in the second half en route to Kapaa’s 3-0 win over the Voyagers varsity girls on Saturday.

Barnes scored both goals from inside the 18-yard box at the 57th and 59th minutes.

“After that first goal, the momentum picked up. We just stepped up and played more as a team,” Barnes said. “We started playing faster, connected our passes better and moved around more.”

Sophomore midfielder Natalie Devin iced the Warriors’ win with the team’s third goal at the 77th minute.

“We switched up a couple of positions and gave them a chance to try playing a different position. I think it might have opened up something for them,” said Kapaa head coach Kevin Cram. “We also gave April a little more freedom to dribble and create her shot rather than looking to distribute.”

Despite the loss, Island School head coach Colby Ayonon said there was growth since the team last played Kapaa. The Voyagers lost that match, 5-0, earlier this month.

“It was a pretty physical game. A few bumps here and there, and they were able to push us off the ball,” he said. “We had a good run. It was a little better than our matchup against Kapaa last time. I’m proud of that. We had worked on a lot of things.”

Kapaa (6-1-1 KIF, 19 points) will play Kauai at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Vidinha Stadium. Island School (2-5-1 KIF, 7 points) will play Waimea at home at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

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