LIHUE — Red Raiders sophomore forward Kehela Ventura is on a scoring tear.
After scoring six goals in two matches last week, Ventura netted four more Wednesday as Kauai High School’s varsity girls soccer team defeated Kapaa, 5-2, at Vidinha Stadium.
“The two forwards on our team are supposed to switch and move around,” Ventura said. “We were supposed to do possession, too. But it just ended up, we found the through balls and we were good. It worked out for us.”
Ventura scored early in the first half and added three more in the second half, chasing balls sent over the top from the midfielders.
“She just finds the spaces, and our midfielders are looking for her now, now that we have that opportunity,” said Kauai head coach Joe Cassler. “It’s been very successful, obviously, in our last couple of games.”
Red Raiders senior forward Lyndsie Kashima netted one more Kauai (3-1-0 KIF) at the 51st minute with a header in the penalty off a free kick served by junior midfielder Kyla Bandsma from close to midfield.
“She rattled one off the crossbar against Waimea last week. She was itching to find a goal with her head,” Cassler said. “She’s little, but she finds space and makes the best of it when she does.”
Cassler said while the forwards were able to get shots off up front, the team’s success actually stems from the four defenders at the back — senior Chase Tokita, senior Kaitlynne Bukoski, sophomore Ciena Caires and senior Railee Layosa.
He added Bandsma did well as the center midfielder offensively and defensively.
“They are the true leaders of this team. They are the ones that are directing everything for me from the back,” he said. “Because of that, they’re not the ones scoring the goals, but everything starts with them.”
Kapaa (3-1-0 KIF) got its first goal at the 24th minute. Warriors junior midfielder Kaylee Overmyer took a shot from outside the 18-yard box for the 1-1 equalizer.
“Hey, hats off to Kauai High School. They came to play,” said Kapaa head coach Mytra McKeague. “They got in early. I think from that, our girls were on their heels.”
Senior midfielder Vanessa Hernandez added one more for the Warriors in the closing minutes, striking from inside the penalty area. Hernandez had a chance for another during stoppage time from a free kick, but her header went wide of the goal.
“At least they played until the end. At least they didn’t stop. I’m proud of my girls,” McKeague said. “It’s a long season. We’re in a marathon here, not in a sprint. Now, we got to get back to work at practice.”
Ventura left the match during the second half to fulfill other obligations. She received an ovation from the Red Raiders supporters when she was substituted off.
“I’m just dedicated to score goals. I can’t go a game without scoring one, or else I don’t feel like I did anything good,” she said.
McKeague added about Ventura: “Excellent player. … Kehela, she moves off the ball well. We got to mark on her better.”
Kapaa will host Waimea at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Vidinha Stadium. Kauai will next play at Island School at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Kauai: Kehela Ventura 4 (11’, 47’, 48’, 60’), Lyndsie Kashima (51’)
Kapaa: Kaylee Overmyer (24’), Vanessa Hernandez (80’)