WAIMEA — Just seconds into Hawaii Prep Division II semifinal matchup against Honokaa, Teah Van Bergen made a rare offensive miscue.
The Ka Makani captain put her foot out in an attempt to deflect a ball into the net, but instead, it bounced wide, essentially making the save for the opposing keeper.
“How could I do that,” Van Bergen said to herself as she jogged away from the net.
She didn’t have to wait long for redemption. Van Bergen found the back of the net in the 5th minute, the first tally of a hat trick for the senior striker that helped lead Ka Makani to a 9-0 mercy rule victory over the visiting Dragons.
Jenna Perry also recorded a hat trick — including the game-ending goal early in the second half — while Emi Higgins, Jordan Zarate and Mari Camacho also added goals. Maia Mils and Ella Martin combined for the shutout in net.
“We were able to get a lot of girls in the mix and a lot of girls got chances to score,” Hawaii Prep head coach Steve Perry said. “It’s a nice positive vibe for our last game here.”
With the win, Ka Makani (10-1-0) advance to the BIIF D-II title game against Kamehameha (9-4-0), which beat Makua Lani 6-0 in the other semifinal. Kickoff for the championship is slated for 5 p.m. at Konawaena’s Julian Yates Field.
The postseason is familiar territory for Hawaii Prep. Last season — in their sixth consecutive state final appearance — Ka Makani became the first Division II team to win four state titles in a row and the first Hawaii team to do it since Punahou claimed four consecutive from 1983-86.
Hawaii Prep has been the BIIF’s best D-II squad for eight years running, although Kamehameha hasn’t made things easy as of late. Ka Makani squeaked out a 1-0 victory against a previously undefeated Warriors squad last season, relegating Kamehameha to a sixth consecutive runner-up finish in the BIIF.
Hawaii Prep scored a 4-1 win over the Warriors earlier this season, but that doesn’t mean the team is taking their D-II rivals lightly. In fact, the shoe was on the other foot for Ka Makani last season, when the Warriors notched a convincing 4-1 regular season win in Waimea.
The lesson from that experience: never underestimate.
“It’s funny. If you look at it, it’s really the opposite of last year, when they came over here and pounded us pretty good. This year, we were able to go over there and get a nice win,” Perry said. “That’s a team that knows us well. We know that we will have to battle.”
Ka Makani is hitting on all cylinders at the right time. Perry said the roster is at nearly full health for the first time since the beginning of the month, and it showed against the Dragons.
Hawaii Prep implemented a platoon system, bringing in 4-5 subs at a time. There was little to no drop off between the different lineups, albeit Hawaii Prep dominated the game and didn’t allow a shot with any kind of chance on net.
“It’s nice to see the depth,” Perry said. “It’s great to see x, y or z come in and it’s pretty much the same stuff. This is a good group.”
The season isn’t over for Honokaa (1-10-2). The Dragons will play Makua Lani (2-8-1) in the BIIF’s third place game at 3 p.m. at Konawaena on Saturday for the league’s final HHSAA state tournament berth. Hawaii Prep earned its spot in the state tourney by winning the league’s Red Division outright in the regular season, and Kamehameha has a spot reserved as well.