HANAPEPE — The Menehune kane won their last regular season home game to keep their title hopes alive.
Waimea High School’s varsity boys soccer team defeated Kapaa, 4-1, Wednesday night at Hanapepe Stadium.
“I feel I like we’ve been building up to this game the whole entire year,” said Waimea head coach Kapono Chong-Hanssen. “We had everyone. We were able to play full force and do what we wanted to do. I feel like we’re peaking at the right time.”
With the Menehune win, Waimea and Kapaa (7-2-2 KIF, 23 points) are both tied for the top spot of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation standings with one game left in the season.
“I don’t expect an easy game. We’re just going to have to battle just like we did,” Chong-Hanssen said about looking forward to Saturday. “We’ll try to get that win and see what we can do to get to states.”
Menehune sophomore midfielder Carl Mecham scored two goals in the game.
The first, he struck from about the edge of the 18-yard box and found the net at the 6th minute for the team’s first score. The second, he took a crack from about 30 yards out and got the ball past Kapaa’s goalkeeper at the 49th minute for Waimea’s third goal.
“I saw the goalie. He was out and I saw him backpedalling,” Mecham said about his 30-yard shot. “Whenever I see that, I usually take a shot. I took it and it just happened.
“It was amazing. In the moment, it’s unexplainable,” he added. “It was for the seniors. Last home game, and it was a game to keep us in the season for the KIF. Hopefully, we can go to states. We just gave it our all.”
Junior midfielder Marcus Pereira struck at the 13th minute for the team’s second goal, and senior forward Noah Kaululaau found the net at the 64th minute.
Kapaa junior center midfielder Justin Franklin scored off a penalty kick at the 71st minute for his team’s only score. He also took a crack from outside the box at the 79th minute, but his shot sailed above the crossbar.
“We controlled the game, the second half at least. We just couldn’t figure out how to score,” Franklin said. “They just had their moments. They took advantage of our mistakes and capitalized on them.”
Warriors head coach Gary Hudson said, though he would have rather won to seal a KIF championship, his team is still in position to win a second-consecutive title and must take advantage of the opportunity.
“They scored more goals than us tonight. That’s just the way it goes,” he said. “We didn’t come out with the same energy that we played with the last game. It wasn’t until the second half that we played the way we should. By then, try as we might, it was too little, too late.
“It sets up a great Saturday afternoon of soccer on the island, doesn’t it?” he added.
In the junior varsity match, Kapaa won, 4-1.
Waimea will play Kauai (5-4-2 KIF, 17 points) on Saturday at Vidinha Stadium. The JV game will begin at 10 a.m. and the varsity will follow. Kapaa will play at Island School (0-11-0, 0 points), also at 10 a.m. Saturday.
If both Waimea and Kapaa win or if both lose, a championship game will be played at a date and location to be determined. If one wins and the other loses, the winner will be named this year’s KIF boys soccer champions.
“We had our hands full with Island School. Last time, it took us 78 minutes to get a win on them,” Hudson said about looking Saturday’s match against the Voyagers. “It’s a tough matchup. Hopefully, we’ll get done in time to go watch the Red Raiders and the Menehunes do battle.”