LIHUE — A late penalty kick delivered Waimea High School’s varsity boys soccer team (7-0-1 KIF, 22 points) a 1-nil win over Kapaa on Wednesday evening at Vidinha Stadium.
“The second half was a mix. I think we got the best of them overall, but it wasn’t much,” said Waimea head coach Kapono Chong-Hanssen. “I left it to the boys. I told them at halftime what I thought, but (I said to the) captains, ‘Talk to the team. Get it together. You work for each other. You do what you know how to do, and you’re going to win.’”
At the 65th minute, Warriors senior defender Coleman Langstaff was issued a red card for handball on a Menehune scoring opportunity inside the penalty area and Waimea was awarded a penalty kick.
Menehune junior forward Isaiah Duldulao took the shot and found the low left corner for the go-ahead goal.
“Usually, I’d go right. But I didn’t feel comfortable on this one. I had to just clear my mind and just take it,” Duldulao said. “I barely even remember it. It was like a rush. I just remember taking the kick and ended up over there (celebrating on the near side of the field).”
Kapaa (4-3-1 KIF, 13 points) had a chance for an equalizer during stoppage time.
Senior midfielder Max Nice had control of the ball and was streaking along the near side of the field. He crossed the ball toward a Warriors forward inside the 18-yard box, but Waimea senior goalkeeper Noah Alejandro deflected the ball in the air to prevent the play. The whistle blew immediately after Alejandro’s save.
“I think everybody played hard. I didn’t see cheap play on the field. I saw hard, physically, sometimes aggressive play. But that’s OK with me,” said Kapaa head coach Kevin Cram. ”Even if they hadn’t received the PK, we needed a score to keep us moving in the right direction. And we weren’t able to put the ball to the back of the net. Even with the PK, I’m not displeased. They worked hard. They just weren’t able to convert.”
Waimea will play at Island School (3-3-2 KIF, 11 points) at noon on Saturday.
The Menehune need a win and a tie in the remaining four games to clinch Waimea’s first Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys soccer title since 2006.
“We have an opportunity, but that (Island School) is who tied us. We had a hard time with them. And last time they played Kapaa, they only let in a goal toward the end,” Chong-Hanssen said. “I imagine they’ll be doing similar things and giving their best effort. Island School has been good about that, for many years now.”
“We’ve had some rough times with the soccer program. I think our athletic department, in general, we’re looking for some winners,” he added about potentially securing a league championship. “Hopefully, we’ll keep it up and set a good example.”
Kapaa will play Kauai (0-8-0 KIF, 0 points) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Vidinha Stadium.