PUHI — The Red Raider girls clinched their first league title since 2014.
Kauai High School’s varsity girls soccer team defeated Island School, 10-0, Tuesday afternoon at Island School in Puhi to win the Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship.
“It feels really good after four years of waiting, practicing and putting in my all,” said Red Raiders senior forward Kehela Ventura. “It feels really good to see (this) outcome.”
It is the first KIF title won under Red Raiders head coach Auika Metcalfe.
“It’s definitely a surreal moment,” Metcalfe said. “(Assistant coach Joe Cassler) and I started four years ago. We always dreamt of the moment of being KIF champs. It’s definitely not in our cards at that time. We looked at each other last year, and we were hoping that this would be our year. We’re really, really excited about that.”
Ventura scored four goals, and Kauai’s Mia Takekuma scored three in Tuesday’s match.
Kauai (9-0-0 KIF, 27 points) scored four goals in the first half and six in the second half.
“We’re really pushing the envelope with new formations, new positions. Trying to keep them on their toes, our girls, too,” Metcalfe said. “They’re just as flexible as we are demanding.”
With three matches left in the season, the possibility of an undefeated regular season is in sight for Kauai.
“We definitely want an undefeated year so I can say in my last year we were undefeated,” Ventura said. “I don’t remember a time when Kauai High was like that. So, I think (would be) really cool to have that title.”
Metcalfe said: “It would be the cherry on top of a fantastic year. If we lose one, I think that also would be a great learning lesson for us. I think the best teams are the ones that take a loss and come back, refocus and regroup. So, whatever ends up coming our way is what we do, and we’ll deal with it when it gets there.”
Island School (0-9-0 KIF, 0 points) had its best chance of a goal early in the first half.
Red Raiders goalkeeper Janelle Puplava cleared the ball, but her ball bounced off a teammate and toward a Voyagers forward.
Though Island School had a chance at open net, Puplava made it back in time to retrieve the ball before an Island player could get a shot off.
“We’re still trying to light that flame under them, trying to (get them) to want to have the ball or transition into offense,” said Island head coach Colby Ayonon. “They do a good job of transitioning into defense, but we just got to find that spark to finish. Those kinds of opportunities, they’re a wrapped up present there. We got to be able to put a couple of those away here and there.”
In the second half, Kauai didn’t score again until the 69th minute —Takekuma’s third goal of the game.
Prior to that, Voyagers goalie Sophia Sherrer made a number of saves.
“I think if you looked at shots on goal and goals against, it’s not that bad. She got tested a lot,” Ayonon said of his goalkeeper. “We got to do a better job of not giving our opponents that many opportunities. The keepers can only do so much. They’re our last resort from a defensive standpoint.”
Kauai will play against Waimea at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Vidinha Stadium. Island School will play Kapaa at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Vidinha Stadium.
Prior to Saturday’s matches, Kapaa (4-3-1 KIF, 13 points) will play Waimea (3-4-1 KIF, 10 points) at 5 p.m. today at Vidinha Stadium.
Kauai: Kehela Ventura 4 (8’, 76’, 80’, 80+’), Mia Takekuma 3 (26’, 35’, 69’), Tia Fulks (5’), Cheyann Fujii (71’), Kaylee Alapai-Drone (73’)