Jenna Perry and Malia Brost have known each other as soccer players since middle school, but their true connection came in high school. Now when they meet, it’s usually in the middle.
The stout duo controlled the field for Hawaii Prep, winning 50-50 balls and clogging the center while leading counterattacks and sending crisp passes and throughballs to attacking teammates. Perry and Brost were last seen in February in the HHSAA Division II championship match, showing off their strong legs with booming goals as Ka Makani wrapped up their seventh consecutive state title.
They were even together recently when Brost said they were “ecstatic” to learn they were the coaches’ pick as co-recipients of the long-delayed but much-deserved BIIF D-II player of the year honor.
“Receiving this award with her is amazing,” said Perry, a recent HPA grad. “We both push each other to work our hardest, and the chemistry we share is unmatched. We both have very similar playing styles, and I think we both bring out the best in each other.
“Over the years our communication and ability to work off of each other has brought us great success.”
Make no mistake. Perry and Brost share this award because they work as one. They were first paired together last season, and they were clicking in no time.
“We complement each other by supporting one another, and by having that powerful connection in the midfield, it leads to a stronger team overall,” said Brost, who will be a senior next school year. “Throughout the years, Jenna and my connection has gotten stronger and stronger on and off the field. We have bonded together through all things: school, sports, and social life.”
It’s no surprise that HPA dominates the all-BIIF team with nine selections after reclaiming the league title from Kamehameha with a 7-2 victory (Brost scored twice and Perry collected three assists) in the final. Ka Makani lost just once during the regular (at Waiakea) under the leadership of Stephen Perry, the coach of the year. In the BIIF match of the season in January, Ka Makani beat D-I champ Konawaena 3-0.
Perry and goalkeeper Maia Mills join the 4-for-4 all-BIIF career club for HPA, and junior Bella Police, the team’s leading goal-scorer in 2020, could be headed there after earning her third selection. Brost, Angela Cipriano, Kahele Walsh – perhaps the best fullback in D-II– and Alianna West are picked for a second time, and Jordan Perry and Ruby Helmuth are first-timers. From Kamehameha, dangerous striker Chenoa Frederick and Nanea Wong Yuen are honored for the second time, and Sophia Wilson and Kastle Lyman make their first appearance on the list.
For all of HPA’s success, this is the first time since 2017 and only the second time since 2015 that it’s bagged a triple crown of sorts: BIIF title, state title and player of the year.
The season started differently than others when the girls and boys teams traveled to Arizona over winter break for a preseason tournament. Moreso than all the wins that would follow, that time in the desert served as Brost’s proudest moment.
“Our bond as a team definitely grew over that trip and it showed on and off the field throughout the season,” she said.
Jenna Perry is the third-oldest of Stephen Perry’s four children, all of whom have now made all-BIIF. A soccer player since around age 5, she joins her brother, Justin Perry, as player of the year. Depending on how far back she can remember, she’s watched all of HPA’s most recent girls player of the year: Emi Higgins (2017, 18), Gabbie Ewing (2015), Nanea Tavares (2014), Emily Evans (2013), Katie Case (2012), Leeta Grap (2011) and Selena Osorio (2010).
“Soccer has always been special to me because of the memories I have made playing and the lively camaraderie that my community and family have for the game,” Jenna Perry said. “Growing up, I was at every HPA soccer match there was, and I got to follow all the seasons very closely.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better four years. The teams I have been apart of and the memories I have made, I could have never predicted. I will always look back on my time with the teams and smile.”
Brost has athletic roots of her own and they’re centered around not just soccer but fitness. Both of her parents played sports in college, and Cheryl Brost is an accomplished CrossFit competitor well into her 40s. Malia Brost first played soccer when she was 3 as part of a youth program in Oregon.
“My parents always push and support me to be the best player I can be,” she said. “Whether that’s by working out or having soccer sessions, I am almost always kept busy. With my mom constantly working out, it makes it so convenient to join in, and from these hours put in results show on the field.”
Those mom-daughter workouts have only become enhanced during the pandemic, and it will be up to Malia Brost, Police, West, Helmuth and Jordan Perry to help keep the Ka Makani juggernaut rolling next season.
If Jenna Perry misses HPA matches next season for the first time since she can remember, she’ll have an excuse. Perry plans to study environmental engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. I
“I am so happy for Malia, and I am excited to see what she will do in the coming year and in her future,” she said. “ I will definitely miss getting to play with her.”
Like any good dynamic duo, that feeling is mutual.
All-BIIF, girls Division II
Kahele Walsh HPA Fullback
Ruby Helmuth HPA Fullback
Jordan Perry HPA Fulback
Sophia Wilson KS-Hawaii Fullback
Malia Brost HPA Midfield
Jenna Perry HPA Midfield
Kastle Lyman KS-Hawaii Midfield
Isabella Police HPA Midfield
Chenoa Frederick KS-Hawaii Forward
Angela Cipriano HPA Forward
Nanea Wong Yuen KS-Hawaii Utility
Alianna West HPA Utility
Maia Mills HPA Goalkeeper
Players of the year: Jenna Perry, HPA; Malia Brost, HPA
Coach of the year: Stephen Perry, HPA
Honokaa: Sydni Abacar, Kailana Langan, Carolee Hanks
Ka’u: Jewelz Kaawa, Kamalani Tuifuga
Editor’s note: The all-BIIF soccer list was updated to include Maia Mills