LIHUE — The Warriors got one more win to close out the regular season before heading off to the state tournament.
Kapaa High School’s varsity boys soccer team defeated Kauai High School, 1-0, Saturday afternoon at Vidinha Stadium.
Kapaa (9-1-1 KIF, 28 points) got the game-winning goal in the second half from Isaiah Johnny Movaghar.
“We were coming out just trying to integrate some of the younger boys into the play, giving them time on the field. Just trying to prepare for the tournament,” said Kapaa head coach Kevin Cram. “Once we brought up the younger boys, the intent was to give them time on the field, playing at this level, and see how they perform and where they can benefit the team.”
Kapaa, winner of this year’s Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys soccer championship, will compete in the 2019 The Queen’s Medical Center Boys Soccer Championships–Division II state tournament, which begins Feb. 7.
Seedings and schedules are yet to be released by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association.
“It becomes one game at a time, win or go home,” Cram said. “We’ve got to prepare. The advantage we have is that the teams we’ll be playing have not seen our style of play or know our personnel. Hopefully, we can surprise some people with what we got.”
At last year’s Division II tournament, Kapaa was the runner-up, reaching the championship final but lost to Kamehameha Schools-Hawaii.
“Our goal, of course, is to win and come out as champions,” Cram said. “We’ve got three games to win in order to get there. We’ll take them one at a time, see who our opponent is and see how we can best play against them.”
Saturday was Kapaa’s senior day. There are nine Warrior seniors.
“It’s just another game. We want to win all of them regardless of what the significance is,” Cram said. “The fact it was senior day, we started all the seniors, and they played at least the first 20 minutes.”
Kauai ends the season 4-6-2 KIF record (14 points).
“I thought it was a good game. They actually played how they practiced, meaning they were doing the plays that we were practicing, making the runs that we were practicing and making the transitions that we were practicing,” said Kauai head coach Guga Tosi. “In that sense, it was a very good game. We had a lot of opportunities, especially in the first half.”
Tosi, who just completed his first season as the Red Raiders varsity head coach, added a challenge this year was establishing his ideals to an experienced group.
“It was a tough season, for sure. We have a tough group of kids. Especially having 12 seniors, that’s more than half our team. Any first-year program, you’re inheriting a lot of vestiges from the past,” Tosi said. “You inherit some of those good and bad behaviors. That was the toughest thing for me — trying to be accommodating, trying to be strict and trying to change the culture to where I want the program to go.”
He added: “Other than that, it was a good season. Those that wanted to give 100 percent did. Those that wanted to get out of whatever they wanted out of soccer did. So, it was a learning experience for us all. Nothing can ever be perfect, but we can do our best, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Prior to the varsity match at Vidinha, Kapaa won the junior varsity match against Kauai, 9-0.
Jeran Paleka netted a hat trick for the JV Warriors. Anthony Durocher scored two goals. Nahoa Davis, Chris Harvey, Hanahano Kuhaulua and Josiah Nelson each scored one goal.
Over in Puhi on Saturday morning, Island School’s varsity boys team defeated Waimea High School, 2-0.
Kalei Kanehe and Aiden Offley each scored a goal for the Voyagers.
Island School ends its season with a 4-3-5 KIF record (17 points). Waimea ends with a 1-8-2 KIF record (5 points).
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.