Warrior girls draw with Vikings

WAILUA — Kapaa High School’s varsity girls soccer team played to a nil-nil draw with Hilo High School in a preseason match Friday afternoon at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Sports Complex.

“We know Hilo is always a great team. For us, we actually turned to a new style of play. So, it was kind of challenging,” said Kapaa head coach Mytra McKeague. “I think defensively, we did great. For learning a new system, they did awesome. Now, we just got to work on our attacking.”

The Warrior wahine opened the second half with two chances on goal by senior center midfielder Natalie Devin.

The first shot was in the 42nd minute from inside the 18-yard box, but Vikings sophomore goalkeeper Saydee Bacdad met the ball for the save.

Devin’s second shot minutes later was a header toward goal off a corner kick by senior midfielder Vanessa Hernandez, but the ball went over the crossbar.

“Hilo’s defense is good. They’re on the ball quickly,” McKeague said. “So, the girls just got to release quicker, think quicker and play quicker.”

The Vikings from the Big Island Interscholastic Federation had its best chance at the 35th minute.

Junior forward Alyeemomi Amaral had the ball inside the penalty area with Kapaa senior goalkeeper Nygeria Williams out of position, leaving an open net. But Amaral’s shot went wide of the nearside post.

Also, Hilo’s forwards were called offsides a number of times while trying to send the ball over the top to them.

“It’s something we got to work on. We got a lot of speed, but just work on the forwards — their movement — to create more space and more time for them so they’re not offsides,” said Hilo head coach Skee Saplan.

The Vikings coach added he fielded a lot of underclassmen on Friday, but for the most part was pleased with their play despite playing to a draw.

“We played well today. This is actually our first game. We’ve been practicing for about a week, but it was good,” Saplan said. “Kapaa plays very well — clean, physical, hard game. For our girls, plenty underclassmen. I think I started about seven or eight sophomores and a freshman. We’re just trying to get ready for the season.”

Kapaa will be headed for the Big Island for three more preseason matches during Thanksgiving weekend, McKeague said.

“I think adapting, they did great. Some things we need to work on are our long balls and our short passes,” she said. “A lot of things we need to touch up on. But a game like this, it’s great because they (Hilo) are a high-level pressure team, and that’s what we like to play against. So, it was good.”

Hilo continues its Kauai preseason tour today at Hanapepe Stadium. Big Island’s Vikings will play Kauai High School at 10 a.m., and then play Waimea High School at 3:30 p.m.

“Takeaways today, because we’re trying a new formation and new setup, it’s really too much to do in this trip,” Saplan said. “So, we’re going to try and go back and break it apart. Maybe just take small sections. I want the midfield connections to be a lot better. The forward runs, we want to make a little bit better, get offsides less and hopefully get in the box more.”

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