Waiakea’s Ken Yamase Memorial Stadium debuted for soccer in December of 2013, heretofore primarily hosting big matches on the girls side.
While the boys team was a little late to the party, it’s more than making up for it now.
These Warriors continue to break new ground.
Sophomore John Grover scored early in Saturday afternoon’s match, and the Warriors dazzled Hilo during a ferocious first 15 minutes to earn their first victory against their rival on their field turf, winning 1-0.
“I told the boys to enjoy the win, because it doesn’t happen often,” coach David Urakami said.
Urakami keeps modestly echoing that sentiment after groundbreaking BIIF Division I wins – Waiakea (3-1) opened the season by beating Kealakehe for the first time since 2011 – but it’s becoming clear that his group, a nice mix of underclassmen skill and upperclassmen grit, is growing comfortable with itself.
“It’s a special group,” Urakami said. “It’s hard to put in to words. … Their soccer IQ is very high.”
The real genius of this victory was getting off to a fast start.
It would be an understatement to say the frenzied Warriors had the Vikings (2-2) on their heels right out of the gate.
“The first 10 minutes, Waiakea rocked the world for us,” Hilo coach George Ichimaru said. “(We) didn’t know what to do. (We) were freaking out.”
He admitted his team came out flat, perhaps not expecting such a stout test from an opponent team it routinely treats like a mere speed bump come playoff time. Hilo has ousted Waiakea in the past four BIIF semifinals, the last two with relative ease at Hilo Bayfront, only losing to the Warriors once dating back to 2012 before Saturday.
With Hawaii Prep undefeated and the clear No. 1 and Kealakehe having already lost four games, the rivals could well be on a collision course in the semifinals again, this time on the Warriors’ turf, though before then the teams will meet again at Hilo Bayfront.
“That’s the goal,” Urakami said of a home semifinal. “I like our intensity.”
The Vikings upped the ante in the second half and produced several scoring chances. Devin Albrecht had a wide-open look at an equalizer but sent a shot high, and Warriors goalkeeper Isaac Sumera was in position to stop a hard-charging Kainalu Lewis, collecting the shut out.
Grover, a sophomore, moved to the back to help stem the tide once freshman Ethan Okahara-Olsen left with an injury. Okahara-Olsen and fellow freshman Colby Kerr played well in back as well.
Waiakea’s coaching staff praised its team for grinding out a win despite playing an “ugly” second half.
That style could come in handy during the playoffs.
“They earned it,” Ichimaru said. “Well-deserved goal, well-deserved victory. We did control the second half a little bit more.”
The Vikings are still trying to work Riley Patterson, one of their best players, back into into a full-time role after the junior was slowed by a injury.
The rematch is Jan. 20, Hilo’s senior day.
“They brought it to us,” Ichimaru said. “We’re going to come back motivated and more focused.”
Honokaa 2, Pahoa 1: Daneau Domingo scored in the final minute to lift the Dragons to a road victory, their first win of the season.
Honokaa coach Maurice Miranda said the Daggers (0-4) scored on their only shot on goal, a first-half equalizer off the foot of Matthew Ortega.
Meanwhile, the Dragons (1-2) took about 50 shots, Miranda said.
“At this rate, we’d need to shoot 100 times to score four goals,” he said. “We shot it all over the place and their goalkeeper played well.”
Kelson Pedro opened the scoring with a goal for Honokaa.
Kamehameha 9, Ka’u 0: Buddy Betts tallied a hat trick in Pahala, and David Erskine added a goal and two assists to help the Warriors roll.
Jonathan DeMotta, Tyler Waltjen and Rylan Respicio each had a goal and an assist and Nainoa Kalaola-Maruquin and Makoa Kalaola-Maruquin also scored for Kamehameha (3-1).
Jameson Sato and Makoa Kalaola-Maruquin were credited with the shut out against the Trojans (0-5).
Hilo 4, Waiakea 0: After a scoreless first half, the Vikings came alive, getting two goals from Miya Clarke, who finally started dominating the flanks with long runs like she’s used to.
“We needed to get the first one in,” coach Skee Saplan said. “We were playing well in the first half, but we couldn’t get one in.”
Clarke scored about eight minutes into the second half after a quick run down the right wing, and Hollie Saplan made it 2-0 about two minutes, taking advantage of a breakaway.
Nanea Moke-Rabang scored midway through the half from 6 yards out after Kiana Corpuz took a direct kick, and Clarke capped it off with an assist going to Jordyn Pacheco for Hilo (4-1).
Saydee Bacdad made four saves for her fourth consecutive shutout as the Warriors (3-3) fell back to .500
“The girls played with a lot of heart and composure in the second half,” Saplan said.
Kamehameha 9, Ka’u 0: Kiara Cuyo and Hevani Haunga each recorded hat tricks in a road win for the Warriors (3-2.)
Roycie Faye added two goals, Hiwa Brown had one and Kiani Troy collected the shutout of the Trojans (0-6).