Hilo’s Riley Patterson took the ball on the right flank near his bench and cut in toward Waiakea’s goal.
He should have cut out, a fact that wasn’t lost on Patterson nor Vikings coach George Ichimaru when a Warriors player took the ball away.
“I don’t know why I didn’t do it,” Patterson told his coach.
That 10-second snapshot was the splendid senior’s lone noticeable mistake during an otherwise flawless 40 minutes – all his other moves were the right ones.
Patterson put Waiakea on its heels with a first-half hat trick Thursday and the Vikings won 4-2 at Hilo Bayfront, claiming a 10th consecutive victory to strengthen their hold on second place in what is shaping up to be the most compelling BIIF Division I soccer season since classification started in 2008.
“When he plays well, the team plays well,” Ichimaru said. “And the defense plays well.”
Patterson stands out to be sure, but save some praise for the defense, the coach said.
Ichimaru challenges the Vikings (10-2) to give up a maximum of two goals each match, figuring Patterson can help take care of the rest.
“He’s amazing,” junior stopper Urban Halpern said of his teammate. “He takes center stage leading the team, calling the shots, everything.
“He always tells us to keep our heads in the game. Even if they score on us, he gets one right back.”
On a sunny and pleasant day in which Hilo didn’t have the services of second-leading scorer Logan Mizuba (flu), Patterson took over during a scoreless match:
• First, he showcased speed and determination, getting behind the Warriors defense after collecting a pass from Keanu Keolanui and scoring on a breakaway.
• then, he used power and precision. Patterson buried a free kick from a good 30 yards into the top right portion of the goal;
• finally, Patterson was measured and opportunistic after collecting a Waiakea giveaway in front its goal, flicking in his 36th goal of the season – one behind the league leader, Hawaii Prep senior Jake Schneider.
What could have been No. 37 ricocheted off the post late in the match, but he still has accounted for 59 percent of the Vikings’ 61 goals.
Josh Rosario tacked on a goal in the second half for Hilo, which has beaten every team on the island since consecutive losses to Hawaii Prep and Waiakea to start the season and can wrap up the second seed – and a home match in the BIIF semifinals – with a win against either Kealakehe or Keaau next week.
“In the beginning, it was kind of tough,” Halpern said. “After we changed our formation, that really clicked with the players we have, and we were able to fix the problems.
“Just stay compact and wait for them to come to us.”
Waiakea (8-3-1) was clearly flustered during the first half, but the Warriors fought hard in the second half. Aidan Santos and Riley Tamanaha earlier missed connecting on a corner kick when Tamanaha clanged a shot off the goalpost, but he scored off the foot of a Santos cross to make it 3-1. Santos tallied the final goal of the match.
But Patterson was too much to handle.
“A phenomenal player,” Warriors coach David Urakami said.
And the soccer gods don’t seem to smiling on Waiakea yet.
“I think the universe just wants us to be fourth place,” Urakami said.
The Warriors remained tied with Kealakehe for third place in D-I, but the Waveriders own the head-to-head tiebreaker after beating Waiakea 2-1 on Monday, a match in which the Warriors missed two penalty kicks.
“Who misses two PKs?” Urakami asked.
Hawaii Prep 4, Kealakehe 1: Jake Schneider returned to the lineup to score two goals in Waimea as Ka Makani secured the top seed in the D-I tournament.
Riley Hiatt buried a penalty kick for HPA (12-1) and Conor Hunt tallied a goal, and Sihkea Jim and Noah Balaam finished with assists.
The Waveriders (8-3-1) saw their five-match winning streak end.
Kohala 3, Honokaa 2: The Cowboys ended a six-match losing streak, coming through for a big win in Kapaau.
Shiloh Perez scored two goals in the second half and Julian Parks had the other as the Cowboys (4-8) moved into a tie with Konawaena (4-9) for the final playoff spot in D-II. Both teams are one point in back of the third-place Dragons (4-9-1), who will host Kohala on Saturday in their final regular season game.
The Wildcats can gain ground Friday at Keaau in their penultimate match – they host Kealakehe next week – while the Cowboys still have Ka’u and Makua Lani remaining on the schedule next week.
Hilo 3, Waiakea 0: Senior day was just that for the Vikings, who wrapped up 12-0-1 regular season.
Miya Clarke scored her team-high 18th goal of the season and set up Jordyn Pacheco’s 17th, and Hollie Saplan scored on a 40-yard blast and also drew an assist for the Vikings, who host Kealakehe (4-9) at 3 p.m. Monday in the BIIF D-I semifinals.
Goalkeeper Saydee Bacdad had a hand in Hilo’s 11th shutout of the season, and another senior, Haley Miyasato, finished with assist.
The loss for the Warriors (8-4-1) assures that they’ll hit the road Monday for a semifinal against Konawaena (8-3-1).
Hawaii Prep 3, Kealakehe 0: Emi Higgins scored twice in Waimea, giving her 10 in four matches since returning from an injury, and Angela Cipriano added her 11th goal late as Ka Makani earned their ninth win in a row.
Maia Mills garnered the shutout for HPA (11-1-1), which hosts Honokaa (3-9-1) at 3 p.m. Monday in BIIF D-II semifinals.
“I was happy how the girls finished their regular season,” coach Stephen Perry said. “They played a smooth game today from back to front controlling the ball and creating opportunities. Kealakehe had good shape and was dangerous on the counterattack.
“I thought we communicated well throughout to handle that.”