This was not your older brother’s Kaiser-Hilo boys state tournament soccer match.
The Vikings had their legs and their opportunities Monday at Hilo Bayfront. The Cougars, however, still had the final answer in a 2-0 victory in the first round of the Division I tournament.
With the way Hilo seniors Haku Tolentino-Perry and Logan Mizuba were charging down right flank in the first half, the Viks looked on the verge of breaking through. One sequence with about 6 minutes remaining in the half, which came on the heels of a bevy of scoring chances, perfectly summed up the postseason fortunes of the perpetual BIIF runner-up for most of the last decade.
On one end, Hilo drew Kaiser’s goalkeeper out of position, but the Cougars’ Richard Yang dove to block Tolentino-Perry’s shot. After Kaiser cleared the ball, Kainalu Lewis was called for a yellow card, and the direct kick from Kaiser’s Lucas Shearer hit the crossbar. Kyler Halverson scored on the rebound.
“We definitely came out the more motivated and fired up team,” said Hilo coach George Ichimaru, whose squad took advantage of a nine-day layoff since a double-overtime loss to Waiakea in the BIIF championship game.
Kaiser (12-1-1), which reached the Oahu Interscholastic Association semifinals before losing to Kalani, looked stronger in the second half.
Hilo’s attempt at an equalizer got harder when it went a man down with about 5 minutes to play after Lewis drew a second yellow card. Near the end of regulation, Ian Ngonethong weaved his way through the defense to score for the Cougars, who advance to play top-seeded Punahou on Thursday in the quarterfinals on Oahu.
“I think they finally got their legs, they got their rhythm,” Ichimaru said of the second half. “When they scored, we knew we had to start pushing, and that opened up the game (for them).”
The Vikings finished the season 11-3.
Both of the coaches are Waiakea alums, as this was a homecoming for Kaiser’s Layne Abalos. It was also a rematch of the 2017 state opener at Hilo Bayfront, a match in which Abalos’ team dominated from the start, winning 6-0.
Tolentino-Perry, Mizuba and Lewis were freshmen on that team and playing with their older brothers (Kalei Tolentino-Perry, Lander Mizuba and Ka’aina Lewis).
“We got a huge improvement from the boys and they played the best they could,” Ichimaru said. “They wanted to leave it all on the field and they did.
“They showed they could cause problems for an Oahu team.”
Third-seeded Waiakea gets its chance at 3 p.m. Thursday, taking on Kalaheo in the quarterfinals. On Monday, Kalaheo beat Iolani in penalty kicks.