Caneel “Boo Boo” Corpuz is a veteran on the Hilo High girls soccer team, and she called this season the roughest in her four years. She’s seen her share of wild stuff, and she was on the winning side.
Annika Lee is a sophomore, and she was left nearly speechless after the Vikings pulled out a surprising 2-1 double-overtime win over Waiakea in the BIIF Division I semifinals Wednesday at Ken Yamase Memorial Stadium.
Lee knocked in a header off a Corpuz free kick from 25 yards out just two minutes into the second OT to lift Hilo into the BIIF championship for the fifth straight year.
“I couldn’t have done it without my team and inspiration from my coaches,” Lee said. “It opened some eyes. We lost eight seniors from last year, but we persevered through.”
In the other semifinal, Konawaena defeated Kealakehe 6-2, behind two goals each from Zane Garrigan and Jadyn Hanks and one each from Caiya Hanks and Averi Salinas Gouveia.
The Wildcats (12-1) play the Vikings (7-5-1) for the BIIF championship for the third straight year at 3 p.m. Saturday at Hawaii Prep.
The season is over for the Warriors (8-4-1) and the Waveriders (5-7-1).
Most BIIF soccer observers pegged Waiakea as the favorite in their semifinal. The Warriors, who have never won a BIIF crown, beat the Viks twice during the season, 2-0 and 4-0.
Besides a lot of youth, the injury bug has been a constant companion. Seniors Nanea Moke-Rabang and Paige Hiraki and freshman midfielder Chloe Saplan went down with injuries and missed the semifinal.
“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have,” Hilo coach Skee Saplan said. “It’s all about hard work and will power. I’m happy and surprised we got this far.”
For most of the game, the Warriors dominated ball possession and kicked two very close-range shots right to Hilo goalie Kali’u Boteilho.
“That’s soccer,” Waiakea coach Steve Petner said. “That’s the way the postseason works. One game doesn’t define our season. We’ve got a lot of good players coming back.”
Waiakea got on the scoreboard first when a Viking defender swung and missed at clearing a ball, and Kaylie Hashizaki snagged it and booted home a score past Boteilho.
In the second half, Waiakea put up three good scoring chances, including a shot right to Boteilho and another that barely cleared the crossbar.
Senior sweeper Malu Kekuawela was a defensive force for Waiakea, neutralizing scoring threats and Jacelyn Cambra controlled the center of the field, settling the ball and looking to send balls into seams for her forwards.
Sophomore Kaitlin Beatty and freshman Riley Bockrath kept creating scoring chances for the Warriors, who lose six seniors, including Kekuawela and sparkplug Maiya Serrao.
But all the Vikings needed was a chance. And that’s all they got in the second half: one scoring opportunity, and it was enough to tie the game 1-1.
On a counterattack, Corpuz was guarded one-on-one, but the ball found her feet. She was able to dribble free to create a shot, and she scored.
“We pulled together,” Corpuz said. “We’ve got a lot of sophomores. But they’re playing for us and want us to win the BIIFs. It’s a lot of heart and dedication. We’re playing for each other.”
The first 10-minute OT period was uneventful, except for a slight shift in ball possession was present.
The Vikings started winning balls and pressured the Warrior to get it back. Two minutes into the second OT, Hilo drew a free kick from 25 yards out on the left flank.
Corpuz took the kick and sent a shot right to Lee, who nailed the game-winner.
Waiakea has recently experienced painful postseason trips. Last year, Konawaena eliminated the Warriors 3-0 in the semifinals.
The Warriors ousted the Wildcats in 2016 and 2017 in the semis. But both years, Hilo beat Waiakea for the BIIF title.
“Our seniors did a great job to build the culture,” Petner said. “We’ll go from there.”
Kamehameha 9, Honokaa 0: Chenoa Frederick and Sophia Wilson each scored twice in a semifinal at Paiea Stadium as the Warriors punched their ticket to their ninth consecutive state tournament.
Kirstyn Mahaulu, Nanea Wong Yuen, Tabitha Pacheco, Kehau Yamanoha and Raeshalyn Respicio also scored for Kamehameha (6-3-3), which will try for a threepeat in Saturday’s 1 p.m. championship match against Hawaii Prep (10-1) in Waimea. The teams are meeting in the final for the ninth consecutive year.
Kaylia Galindo collected the shutout against the Dragons (3-9).