KAPAA — In last year’s Division II boys soccer championship final match, the Warriors saw their chance at a state title slip through their hands.
The Warriors seek redemption this time around.
Kapaa High School’s varsity boys soccer team begins its run today in the 2019 The Queen’s Medical Center Boys Soccer Championships–Division II state tournament.
Kapaa (9-1-1 KIF) is seeded No. 4 and will face Seabury Hall of the Maui Interscholastic League in the quarterfinals. That match is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex on Oahu.
“I know because there are only eight teams, it’s hard to kind of just go by records and seedings (to determine) the strength of play,” said Kevin Cram, Kapaa varsity boys soccer head coach. “They try and move teams around so they’re not playing teams from their own leagues. So coming in as the No. 4 seed, to me, that’s fine. It (may give us) a lower expectation to begin with, and we have an opportunity to prove ourselves. I think any one of the seeded teams could have been interchanged, and it wouldn’t have made a difference.”
He added: “The main thing I look at is the teams that are in your bracket, and maybe the strength of the teams you’re maybe going to be playing. Of course, you want to get out of the first round to get into the semifinals. If you can do that, you anticipate that the semifinals are going to be more competitive. And then, of course, going to the finals. If we are to win our first match against Seabury, then our second match will probably be against Kamehameha of the Big Island — who we lost to last year in the championship.”
Kapaa — then seeded No. 2 — lost to then-No. 1 Kamehameha Schools-Hawaii of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation in the Division II final last year, 3-2.
KS-Hawaii, again the No. 1 seed this year, went ahead when the team converted a penalty kick with minutes left.
“Well, I’m hoping that is their thinking — that they want to get a little redemption, get back in and prove that they can make it all the way,” Cram said. “We don’t have any control with what the officials see or call. You just take whatever it is they give you. If it goes for you, great. If it goes against you, so be it. You just have to deal with that. So, we’d like to play in a way where a decision by a referee doesn’t affect the outcome of a game.”
But before that opportunity to play against KS-Hawaii can happen, Kapaa faces Seabury Hall first. Cram said he’s not looking past the quarterfinals.
“Anyone can win any game, and there can be upsets and anything. But I think it’s a pretty good draw for us, and I think it’s a winnable match,” he said. “We just need to get out and play our game.”
Kapaa clinched this year’s Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship on Jan. 16 with a 2-1 win over Kauai High School.
With the remaining matches left, Cram brought up some players from the junior varsity team to see how they’d play with the varsity team on the field.
Four players from the JV team will be with the varsity Warriors at states, Cram said.
“They all have the potential to contribute a little bit in supporting roles, and I think all of them will do well,” Cram said.
The Warriors coach added his team’s strength is defense.
“Most of the games we won in the league were one-goal games,” Cram said. “We had a number of shutouts, but we would only win by a goal. So I think that’s our focus, and I think one of our challenges will be on the offensive end — to be able to get the ball into the goal. If we do, I think our defense will hold up for us.”
Division II schedule
Thursday at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex, all matches begin 3 p.m.
Match 1 (quarterfinals): No. 1 KS-Hawaii (BIIF) vs. Waialua (OIA)
Match 2 (quarterfinals): No. 4 Kapaa (KIF) vs. Seabury Hall (MIL)
Match 3 (quarterfinals): No. 2 Saint Louis (ILH) vs. Waipahu (OIA)
Match 4 (quarterfinals): No. 3 Kalaheo (OIA) vs. Makua Lani (BIIF)
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.