Tuesday | December 12, 2017
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BIIF soccer: Konawaena hopes win against Waiakea signals winds of change in D-I

It was too early, Konawaena coach Kaua Wall said, to put any focus on postseason ramifications.

Wall wouldn’t look forward, but she did look back.

Waiakea’s Ken Yamase Memorial Stadium had been a house of horrors for the Wildcats the past two years in BIIF Division I, but that ended Tuesday when Konawaena left with a 1-0 victory and a nice gust of wind their back.

“We’re not always so fortunate on this field,” Wall said.

The upshot is the Wildcats (3-0 White Division) might not have to come back.

Freshman Tatia Denis-McRight scored in the first half when the Wildcats had a strong wind mostly in their favor, and going against the tide in the second half goalkeeper Kyanah Blas and a well-formed backline helped the lead stand up for a victory that could pay long-term dividends.

This was the only meeting between the Warriors (2-1 Red) and Wildcats during the regular season, and since the two teams are in different tiers, seeding for the BIIF semifinals could come down to a head-to-head tiebreaker. The past two seasons, Konawaena was seeded third and was ousted in losses at Waiakea. Last season’s semifinal got away from the Wildcats. Ki Serrao tallied a hat trick in a 5-0 victory in which Blas never had a chance.

Now a sophomore, she aggressively tended to her area, gobbling up throughballs and charging out to deny Serrao in one instance in the first half. It’s easy to draw comparisons between Blas and Konawaena’s last goalkeeper, Taiana Tolleson, who played in six matches as a sophomore this fall for Vanderbilt.

“We’ve been fortunate to get very good goalkeepers,” said Wall, who assisted longtime coach Guy Miranda for four seasons before taking over this year. “(Kyanah) has so much natural talent, and every day she comes to work.”

Waiakea has a first-year coach, too, but Sage Van Kralingen wasn’t on the sidelines Tuesday after coaching the Warriors in their first two games. Warriors boys coach David Urakami pinched in, and questions about Van Kralingen’s status were referred to school principal Kelcy Koga.

“Let’s just say (Sage) was unavailable and (David) is the interim coach for now,” Koga said.

Playing with the wind at its advantage, Waiakea worked hard to try and get the equalizer in the second half.

Warriors’ senior Evyn Prine started at fullback but moved up top in the second half, and she got behind the Warriors’ defense on a breakaway, but Blas veered to her right to stab away Prine’s shot.

Waiakea sophomore Xailynn Lyman-Moke had a partial breakaway, but with a defender bearing down she shot wide.

“The wind was a huge factor and trying to adjust,” Urakami said. “The girls had to make transition passes and the right decision, and at the same time accommodate the wind.”

Those two chances by Prine and Lyman-Moke aside, Konawaena’s Jadaisha Waahila, Nanea Wall, Kaiya Denis and Leina Takizawa formed a dependable back line for most of the match.

Denis-McRight tallied her third goal of the season, this one off an assist by Jaymie Kunitomo.

The Wildcats face another big D-I test Dec. 22 when they visit two-time defending champion Hilo.

Kaua Wall would only look far enough ahead to offer a few critiques.

“We need to improve our possession and ground game and get to those 50-50 balls,” she said.

Boys

Konawaena 7, Ka’u 2: Travis Ichishita scored twice in Kealakekua and Wyatt Savella, Jovani D’Angelo, Trae Mcdaniel-Tanoai, D’Marco Mireles and Joseph Roback added a goal apiece as the Wildcats improved to 1-0-1. The Trojans fell to 0-2.

Kohala 4, Pahoa 2: The Cowboys won at home to move to 1-1-0, while the Daggers dropped their opener.

Basketball

Waiakea 98, Kealakehe 10: Seven Warriors scored in double figures, led by freshman Jazelle Dorser’s 18 points, and Waiakea jumped out to a 37-2 first quarter lead to coast to victory at home in the first regular season game of the season.

Keani Midel chipped in with 14 points, Kelsie Imai added 13 and Keeli-Jade Smith (12), Zaelynn Liu (11), Madison Hwang (11) and Bethany Honma (10) also led the charge.

 

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