During the first half, Riley Patterson was met with resistance, and that’s before a strong and ever-present crosswind at Hilo Bayfront was taken into account.
While Hilo’s Logan Mizuba did the dirty work Monday – literally, since he was the one creating fouls and getting dragged down to the pitch – Patterson’s obstacles on set pieces included the crossbar as well as several Kealakehe defenders, who were happy use their body as shields against his free kicks.
Not to worry for the Vikings. Jack Mann already had gotten his, and soon enough Patterson would as well.
That Hilo looked comfortable guarding a one-goal lead in the first half became all the more important again late in the second half when the Waveriders scored. The Vikings held on for a 2-1 victory and will take a 13-game unbeaten streak into the BIIF Division I boys soccer championship match.
“Confidence, that’s it,” said Mann, whose goal came in the opening minute after Chauncen Labra played a ball in after a corner kick. “We were just confident the whole way. We knew we had it.”
The Vikings (12-2-1) return to the state tournament for the sixth time in seven years after failing to make it last season. At 7 p.m. Wednesday at Kamehameha, Hilo will face defending co-state champ Hawaii Prep (14-1) as the Vikings search for their first league title since 2011. In the other semifinal, HPA beat Waiakea 3-2 in overtime.
“I mentioned (the past),” Hilo coach George Ichimaru said, “but I told them this is our team, this is our time. Don’t worry about the past.”
Mann, a senior and three-year starter, said: “We’re just looking forward.”
The Vikings never fail to churn out winning seasons, but there has to be some sense of urgency for Hilo to take advantage of this opportunity considering the transcendent senior season being turned in by Patterson. The striker scored his 41st goal – tying him for the BIIF lead with HPA’s Jake Schneider – in the second half after he was the first to corral Keanu Keolanui’s long free ball into the penalty box.
Patterson nailed both sides of the crossbars with shots, the first one on a penalty kick.
“A super solid player, and he’s fun to play with,” Mann said, “cause when you pass it to him you know what he is going to do.”
After a six-year reign atop D-I from 2012-17, the Waveriders (10-4-2) have now missed states the past two years, but this was a resurgent season under first-year coach Hayato Fukumitsu.
“Someone had to lose,” he said, referring to ultra-competitive nature of Division I. Kealakehe only lost to the two finalists, and Waiakea, the last team to beat Hilo, was a strong fourth seed, losing only to the three teams ahead of them in the regular season.
Senior Teddy Rubenstein scored in the final six minutes to cut the Waveriders’ deficit to 2-1, but Hilo goalkeeper Jase Ambrosio dove to his right to stop Rubenstein’s attempt at an equalizer after absorbing Kean Schutte’s blast from 20-plus yards moments earlier.
“We played them last week (a 1-1 tie in Kailua-Kona), so we were both pretty fresh in each others’ minds,” Fukumitsu said. “They made a few adjustments, and we just woke up a little later in the game.
“Definitely a rebuilding year, but I was blessed to have great seniors with great leadership, so the up-and-comers can see what they need to do in the future.”
For Hilo, the future is Wednesday night.
“If you want it, show up and play the best game you can,” Ichimaru said.
Hawaii Prep 3, Waiakea 2 OT
For a second year in a row, Waiakea had Hawaii Prep on the ropes in Waimea, but Ka Makani had a golden goal in their bag of tricks.
Conor Hunt scored in overtime to help Hawaii Prep advance to the Division I BIIF Championship.
Ka Makani (14-1-0) will meet up with Hilo, which topped Kealakehe in the other semifinal. It’s a rematch of a Jan. 10 game, where the Vikings handed Hawaii Prep its only loss of the season, 4-2.
The BIIF’s co-leading goal scorer Jake Schneider netted the pair of regulation goals for Ka Makani, including a tally on a penalty kick in the 55th minute that tied the game at 2-2.
Riley Tamanaha and Aidan Santos had the goals for Waiakea.
By winning the regular season, Hawaii Prep already had a berth locked up in the HHSAA tournament. Ka Makani are the co-defending Division I state champions, playing to a scoreless tie with Baldwin last year when the match was called due to weather concerns.
Hawaii Prep has a brought home a state title to Waimea the last three years, winning D-II in back to back seasons before making the jump to D-I.
The season is over for Waiakea, which wraps up its year with a 9-5-1 record. However, the young Warriors likely will be back next year with title aspirations, with only two seniors on the roster.
Makua Lani 2, Honokaa 0
Kahoku Benson and Stevan Perrino found the back of the net and Dominic Perrino notched a shutout in net to send the Lions (10-5-1) to the BIIF D-II title game.
Makua Lani will face Kamehameha for the BIIF D-II title at the Warriors’ Paiea Stadium for the BIIF title. The Lions last title in the sports came more than a decade ago.
With the win, the Lions also locked up a return to the state tournament after a year away.
The season is over the Dragons (5-10-1), who miss out on a state berth for just the third time in 11 seasons.
Kamehameha 3, Kohala 2
Kanai Eckert scored two goals with an assist at Paiea Stadium as the Warriors (10-5-1) held off a late charge by the Cowboys (5-10-1) late charge to advance to the final and reach the state tournament for the fifth consecutive season.
Eckert assisted on Logan Waltjen’s goal in the 32nd minute to make it 2-0.
Kohala’s Alika Viernes put in a goal off a Shiloh Perez cross in the the second half to make it 2-1, and Eckert’s second goal, off an assist by Buddy Betts, became all the more important when Perez scored in the 77th minute.