Ask Riley Tamanaha about his most memorable play Tuesday, and he’ll mention his near-miss.
Ask him about Waiakea’s prettiest goal, and he’ll point to the fancy footwork – a behind the-back-pass included– provided by John Grover and Aidan Santos.
That’s when coach David Urakami chimed in: “Riley had a beautiful goal, too.”
Tamanaha scored two, and the sophomore striker’s offense also proved to be one of the Warriors’ better sources of late-match defense as they held off Hilo 3-2 in a BIIF Division I soccer match as the final hints of daylight held on at Ken Yamase Memorial Stadium.
“I like how we play very loose,” Urakami said. “They are ready for next couple of games so they can get better in practice.”
The second match of the season for both rivals mirrored last season’s D-I semifinal, which marked a breakthrough for Waiakea (1-1) and a setback for the Vikings (0-2). The Warriors also won that one 3-2 on their field, ending a six-year state drought and sending Hilo home early for the first time since 2012.
“I think this was more intense than the semifinal,” Viks coach George Ichimaru said, “because we were out to set the tone for seeding this year, so I think it was definitely more intense.
“Waiakea put three in during the first half, which we need to clean up.”
Hilo (0-2) trailed 3-1 at the half, but it was game on again when Riley Patterson flicked in a goal with more than 27 minutes remaining in the match.
Instead of sagging back to protect the lead, the Warriors pressed on.
“First defender is your forward,” Urakami said. “We had Riley up top, and he just kept on putting pressure and creating opportunities.
With about 22 minutes remaining, Tamanaha popped a ball forward to set himself up a breakaway, but after charging in he felt he should have gotten a more dangerous shot off against Jyson Breitbarth, who was there for the save.
“That was a hat trick for me, too,” Tamanaha said. “I just choked it.”
He and Grover, a junior, are two players Urakami considers utility players – meaning they not only can play anywhere on the field, but they can play anywhere at a high level.
“I want to play striker better than midfield because I think John plays midfield better than me, and I play striker better,” Tamanaha said.
Wherever they play, they’re likely to be dangerous, as both made first-team all-BIIF last season.
Keanu Keolanui netted a goal and an assist for Hilo, scoring the equalizer after Tamanaha’s goal opened the scoring early in the match.
Grover’s goal put Hilo in a 3-1 hole at the half.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted but it was a steppingstone for us, because our preseason was short and minimal,” said Ichimaru, whose team fell to reigning D-I champ Hawaii Prep in its opener. “I told the team at halftime, they’re scoring on small mistakes. We take away the small mistakes, and we’ll have an up-and-up game.”
The game ended at 5:45 p.m., and before that the teams moved quickly during ball stoppages to try and finish before it got too dark.
Tamanaha said visibility was never an issue
“I didn’t have a problem,” he said. “I think everything on our field was fine.”
Hilo 1, Waiakea 0: Jordyn Pacheco scored midway through the first half, a 25-yard off an assist from Hollie Saplan, and the visiting Vikings improved to 2-0-1.
Saydee Bacdad made one save in collecting the shutout against the Warriors (1-2).
Note: The HPA-Honokaa girls and Kohala-Honokaa boys matches were postponed because the Dragons’ field was unplayable. No makeup dates has been announced.