BIIF soccer: HPA girls have become the ultimate closer

  • Parish Kaleiwahea photo With help from Jenna Perry, left, Hawaii Prep celebrated its sixth consecutive HHSAA D-II girls soccer championship last season.

At this point, it’s almost a wonder that Hawaii Prep’s girls soccer team even bothers paying attention to the preseason.

Or the regular season, for that matter.

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Ka Makani’s BIIF dominance is a thing of the past. The rest of the league, specifically Kamehameha the past two seasons, has figured them out. But it’s those last three or four days on Oahu that matter most. That’s when HPA turns it up a notch and becomes peerless, claiming the past six HHSAA Division II championships.

“Looking back at the past years when we have lost BIIFs, I think that was our biggest motivation,” senior co-captain Jenna Perry said. “We came back after those tough loses and were more focused than ever and that’s how we got prepared.”

With success can come envy, and that dynamic combined with the private school’s status in Waimea put the team in a desired spot shared by many dynasties.

“They don’t like us,” Perry said. “I think that motivates us that we want to show them, in a responsible way, that we can pull out wins. Since there are so many people that look down on us, we want to show that we don’t need to be relying on mind tactics or anything. We can just play good soccer.”

Ka Makani accomplished that goal last year despite losing Emi Higgins, their two-time BIIF Player of the Year, for roughly half of the season due to injury.

Higgins is one of two starters that needs to be replaced, but HPA already had to do that once and is better for it, developing a diverse stable of goal-scorers that includes senior Angela Cipriano and junior Isabella Police up top at forward, and junior Malia Brost and Perry at center midfield.

“Bella and Angela are going to have the majority of the (goals), just the style of play and knowing how the league plays, I think they’ll have the most,” coach Stephen Perry said. “Malia and Jenna will have the outside goals, Bella and Angie will have the throughballs and going-to-goal shots.”

Most of the rest of the lineup is set as well, with senior Kahele Walsh and sophomore Ruby Helmuth at center back, and sophomore Jordan Perry and junior Elizabeth Evans on the outside. Junior Alianna West will play on the wing, and senior co-captain Maia Mills returns at goalkeeper and has designs on playing in college.

“Seniors always want to finish strong and keep this up,” Perry said. “Six seniors that will keep everybody focused and on point.”

Evans and junior Kahala Erskine debut this for HPA season after sitting out a year as transfers.

This is lining up as coach Perry’s stoutest team yet – literally.

“Physically, probably the strongest team I’ve had,” he said. “The strength coach even told me the other night this team is the most advanced that’s he had in the six to seven years he’s worked with us.

“Makes you feel comfortable on the field that you’re going to win some 50-50 balls.”

The end goal is clear – a seventh state title – and while how HPA finishes the season has become formulaic, so to is the beginning. With one match under its belt, the preseason continues Friday at 48th annual Ka Makani Soccer Classic, which runs through Sunday and gives HPA a chance at new-look competition. Ka Makani play Maui on Friday, then they will take on either Kalani or Mid-Pacific on Saturday, and with a little luck Campbell, the 2019 state D-I runner-up, could be waiting Sunday.

HPA is paying attention now, and it certainly will be later.

“We know what this team is capable of, we know the talk that goes around and we want to embrace it and one-up it,” Jenna Perry said.

48th annual Ka Makani Soccer Classic

Girls

Friday

Campbell vs. Kealakehe, noon

Kalani vs. Mid-Pacific, noon

Hawaii Prep vs. Maui, 3:30 p.m.

Konawaena vs. King Kekaulike, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday

Campbell-Kealakehe winner vs. Konawaena-King Kekaulike winner, 9 a.m.

Campbell-Kealakehe loser vs. Konawaena-King Kekaulike loser, 9 a.m.

Hawaii Prep-Maui loser vs. Kalani-Mid-Pacific loser, 11 a.m.

Hawaii Prep-Maui winner vs. Kalani-Mid-Pacific winner, 11 a.m.

Sunday

Seventh place, 10:45 a.m.

Fifth place, 8 a.m.

Third place, 9:45 a.m.

Champion, 9:45 a.m.

Boys

Friday

Hawaii Prep vs. Maui, 1:45 p.m.

Kalani vs. Kealakehe, 1:45 p.m.

Mid-Pacific vs. Kamehameha-Hawaii, 1:45 p.m.

Mililani vs. Makua Lani, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday

Hawaii Prep-Maui winner vs. Kalani-Kealakehe winner, 1 p.m.

Hawaii Prep-Maui loser vs. Kalani-Kealakehe loser, 1 p.m.

Mililani-Makua Lani winner vs. Mid-Pacific-Kamehameha-Hawaii winner, 3 p.m.

Mililani-Makua Lani loser vs. Mid-Pacific-Kamehameha-Hawaii loser, 3 p.m.

Sunday

Seventh place, 9 a.m.

Fifth place, 8 a.m.

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Third place, 11:30 a.m.

Champion, 11:30 a.m.

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