Waimea girls soccer win play-in contest

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kauai Interscholastic Federation center official Guga Tosi keeps an eye on the play where Waimea’s Jasmine Semblante and Honoka‘a’s Dallas Branco work to ground the ball in the first half, Monday during the state Division 2 girls soccer play-in contest at Hanapepe Stadium.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Waimea’s Tehilla Matsusaka and Honoka‘a defender Andrea Manlapit follow the ball from Jasmine Semblante that gets past the Honoka‘a goalkeeper Kailana Langan for Waimea’s second goal in the first half, Monday during the state Division 2 girls soccer play-in match at Hanapepe Stadium.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Waimea’s Jasmine Semblante turns the ball against the efforts of Honoka‘a’s Sydni Abarcar in the second half, Monday during the state Division 2 girls soccer play-in match at the Hanapepe Stadium.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Waimea’s Tori Santiago defends on a shot in the second half, Monday as Honoka‘a’s Dallas Branco follows up on the shot and Waimea goalkeeper Kepler Niccore readies to defend in the goalmouth during the state Division 2 girls soccer play-in match at Hanapepe Stadium.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Honoka‘a’s Dallas Branco and Waimea’s Haley Zina battle for ball control in the second half, Monday during the Division 2 girls soccer play-in contest at Hanapepe Stadium.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Taking care of business…The Waimea High School girls soccer team get together for a photo that’s required by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association, Monday following the Menehune’s 4-1 win over the Honoka‘a Dragons at Hanapepe Stadium. Shown are (front, left to right) Jaidah Ahuna, Jenessa Freitas, Jasmine Semblante, Kayley Gardner, Haley Zina, Kaylieann Peralta, Tehillah Matsusaka, (back) Hailey Ragasa, Tori Santiago, Hunter Akita, Jordyn Maruyama, Kepler Niccore, Halia Moriguchi, Pa‘ana Malama-Gomes, Kailey Ruiz, and Reign Palama.

HANAPEPE — The Waimea High School girls soccer team punched its ticket to The Queen’s Medical Center Hawaii High School Athletic Association state Division 2 championships with a 4-1 win over the Honoka‘a Dragons, Monday afternoon at the Hanapepe Stadium.

“I don’t know what to say,” said an elated and jubilant coach Zenda Octavio following the final whistle at the Division 2 play-in match. “I don’t know if Waimea has ever made it to the state tournament — it’s been so long.”

Waimea took control in the first half, striking with a pair of goals from Jasmine Semblante in the 16th minute and in the 26th minute for the 2-0 go-ahead at the break in the hot midday Westside sun.

Kayley Gardner continued the momentum by finding the goal in the 43rd minute, less than five minutes into the second half. The heat took its toll, withering the Menehune who was liberal with substitutions to cool down the toiling players. Play assumed a maintenance posture in the heat, and Jenessa Freitas found the back of the net in the 48th minute.

The Dragons were not done, stepping up its offensive efforts as the clock ticked down. With less than two minutes remaining in the contest, Dallas Branco’s ball got through traffic to prevent a shutout, 4-1 in the 77th minute.

“I am at a loss for words,” Octavio said. “We’re so proud of the way the girls played on both sides of the ball. They are a great bunch of girls.”

With the win over the Dragons, Waimea becomes the third team from the KIF to participate in the state Division 2 girls soccer tournament when it plays Feb. 5 through 8 at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex on Oahu.

The other KIF teams representing the island at the tournament include Kauai High School who earlier clinched the KIF title, and Kapaa High School who finished as the runner up to the title following its 4-0 win over the Island School Voyagers during the Saturday contest waged at the Island School campus.

Starting in 1989 when the HHSAA started maintaining a tournament record book, Waimea has never once made the champion, or runner-up categories.

“I don’t know,” said Kapaa coach Andrea Alfiler who came to watch the play-in contest. “When we were playing, Waimea had some strong players on the field and they were pretty dominant.”

Octavio said they will head to the state tournament with a 14-person roster.

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