The Warriors dethroned the defending state champion to get back to the Division II final.
Kapaa High School’s varsity boys soccer team advanced to the championship game of the 2019 The Queen’s Medical Center Boys Soccer Championships–Division II state tournament.
“I knew they have the ability to play well and do that. It’s another opportunity. Hopefully, we can (go all the way) this year,” said Kapaa head coach Kevin Cram in a phone interview Friday. “It’s just a good end of a season for the player.”
The No. 4 seed Warriors topped No. 1 seed Kamehameha Schools-Hawaii of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation in the semifinals, 3-1, on Friday at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex on Oahu.
Kapaa got its revenge on KS-Hawaii. In last year’s Division II championship final, Kapaa lost to KS-Hawaii on a late penalty kick, 3-2.
“There were a few that said they felt a little more motivated playing today against them in this match than maybe had it been another team that we hadn’t played before,” Cram said.
He added: “As I know in high school sports, the personnel changes every year. So the team you played last year isn’t always the same team you play the next year, and vice versa. It’s good to win that match, but we know it’s not the same team.”
Kapaa will play No. 2 seed Saint Louis School of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu in the championship final. The D2 final is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex main stadium.
Saint Louis defeated No. 3 Kalaheo of the Oahu Interscholastic Association in the semifinals Friday, 1-0. Crusaders senior forward Skyler Goo scored the match-winning goal in the first half.
Kapaa today will attempt to win its third Division II boys soccer state championship. The Warriors, under coach Cram, won previous state titles in 2009 and 2013.
“This will be our seventh time in the finals. We’ve won two and finished second four times,” Cram said. “We’ve got a little ways to go to get our percentages up.”
Because some of his players are returnees from last season’s team that made it to the finals, Cram hopes with more experience comes more confidence going into today’s championship match.
Perhaps avenging last year’s loss and knocking off the defending champion on Thursday did just that.
“Last year, we went into the tournament with a question mark of really not knowing exactly what the ability of the team was. So getting to the finals was a pleasant surprise, and playing as closely as we did was even better,” Cram said. “So having had that experience now going into the finals tomorrow, I think they know that they can play at this level. They’re not going in not sure of what’s going to happen.”
Warriors sophomore forward Johnny Movaghar bagged a brace, and senior forward Ryno Banasihan scored one goal for Kapaa.
KS-Hawaii junior midfielder Buddy Betts scored in the second half for Big Island’s Warriors.
Kapaa took a 1-0 lead into halftime. Movaghar scored the match’s opening goal.
“I think the boys kind of felt more of the importance of the match,” Cram said. “Some of the things we’ve been working on during the season, they did a little better — defensive marking, and maybe a little more aggressiveness on in the attacking aspect of the game. It made a difference.”
Friday’s Division II results
Match 5 (consolation): Seabury Hall (MIL) 8, Waialua (OIA) 0; Seabury Hall: Louie Smith 3 (5’, 59’, 74’), Keala Frost 2 (13’, 31’), Parker Timmons 2 (65’, 80’), Max Desilva (62’)
Match 6 (consolation): Makua Lani (BIIF) 1, Waipahu (OIA) 0, PKs
Match 7 (semifinals): No. 4 Kapaa (KIF) 3, No. 1 KS-Hawaii (BIIF) 1; Kapaa: Johnny Movaghar 2 (1’, 71’), Ryno Banasihan (76’); KS-Hawaii: Buddy Betts (78’)
Match 8 (semifinals): No. 2 Saint Louis (ILH) 1, No. 3 Kalaheo (OIA) 0; Saint Louis: Skyler Goo (37’)
Info from Hawaii High School Athletic Association.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.