LIHUE — Sophomore center midfielder Natalie Devin had a clear shot at the net at the 38th minute and didn’t let the opportunity slip by.
With Devin’s goal, Kapaa High School’s varsity girls (9-1-3 KIF, 1-0 playoff) won the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls soccer championship, defeating Kauai, 1-0, in the title game Tuesday night at Vidinha Stadium.
“It happened really fast. Someone kicked it up. It was jumbled, and then my friend crossed it to the middle. The goalie was out. and I just volleyed it into the goal,” Devin said of her goal. “It was really scary because I thought I was going to kick it over.”
She was mobbed by her teammates on the field after the goal.
“It feels really good,” she added about winning a high school championship. “All the hard work in practice really paid off. It’s pretty great.”
For Kapaa head coach Kevin Cram, who has coached the girls team the past two years, this is his first KIF title with the Warrior wahine.
“It’s good. It’s what we’ve built for. The training from last year carried over this year,” Cram said. “I think it’s just the constant attack (that won it for us). We created opportunities.”
Kauai (8-1-4 KIF, 0-1 playoff) had the ball on its attacking third of the field for the last few minutes of the match. The Red Raider girls had several chances during that time, but couldn’t put one past Kapaa’s goalkeeper.
Red Raiders sophomore midfielder Railee Layosa had the last chance in the 80th minute, but the shot went wide of the nearside post.
“We had more than enough chances in the first half. We had at least a solid four that we should have converted on,” said Kauai head coach Kevin Devitt. “It is what it is. It happens. We got beat by one goal.
“We’ve won and lost to them, every time, by one goal. Nothing to complain about,” he added. “It was a hard-fought game. Just the breaks didn’t go our way.”
Kauai senior defender Janae Souza said, though it’s disappointing to lose the game, she and her teammates are looking forward to what’s ahead.
“It was rough, the outcome. But it was good because we both played a really hard game,” she said. “We know we can still play really hard up at states. We’re still able to do this. We’re still in it.”
Both Kapaa and Kauai will participate in the 2015 Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Girls Soccer Championships — Division II tournament next week on Oahu.
“One of the big advantages this year, over last year, is both teams play with speed. And that’s what you’re going to see at the state tournament,” Cram said. “That was our detriment last year. The game we lost, the team we were playing was fast and we weren’t as prepared for that.
“I think these matches we played between Kauai and Kapaa has prepared both teams. I think we’re going to see comparable stuff out there,” he added.