Kapa’a High School midfielder La’akea Gonsalves feels his Warriors will enter 2020 The Queen’s Medical Center Boys Soccer Division II Championship Feb 13-15 with an additional psychological boost of being labeled defending state champs.
Gonsalves, and the majority of his team, will enter the first round of the state tournament against Makua Lani at 3 p.m. today, with supreme confidence that comes with being this year’s top-seeded team.
“I feel like we are super confident entering this tournament,” Gonsalves said. “We will be the top team until someone takes it from us.”
The Warriors, who finished this season with an undefeated record, including three tie-games to become the Kauai Interscholastic Federation Champions for the second-consecutive season, expressed confidence in their ability to execute on defense.
“I think we get to practice against our top defense every day,” Gonsalves said. “Because our offense gets to practice against the best defense, I think we are ready for anything out there.”
Warriors’ head coach Kevin Cram admits he doesn’t have many references on the upcoming opponent Makua Lani.
According to Cram, the only information his team has to go on their Big Island opponent is YouTube footage against Kamehameha.
“This is nothing that we haven’t deal with before, and I didn’t see any surprises from what I saw on film,” Cram said. “However, when you are playing them in-person versus watching a film, those are two different things.”
A chemistry lesson
Entering the 2020 season, Cram acknowledged this team, like most high school teams, vary from year to year because of the changes in members due to graduation.
This team has more versatility, according to Gonsalves.
“This year, more guys can play multiple positions on our team in comparison to last year’s team,” Gonsalves said. “I feel like the majority of our team can do that, and we are going just to have to defend and play our hearts out.”
Small, but mighty
This season in the KIF, the Warriors had a total of three tied games.
Cram said he felt playing in a highly-competitive conference will help aid the Warriors in its quest to win back-to-back championship games.
“It does help us to prepare because we have to play the same team four times, and as a coach, you know what to expect from your opponent,” Cram said. “You may have to change your strategy to match up against a familiar opponent when you are playing a team just once it’s a little bit different.”
Cram feels like his veteran team will be prepped entering in the tournament.
“I feel that we are about as prepared as we can be given those circumstances,” Cram said.
Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.