HHSAA state girls soccer: With fresh legs, Hawaii Prep races into semis

HONOLULU — Hawaii Preparatory Academy went into their state playoff game on Thursday in a rare underdog role, while also not having played a game in 12 days after their first round game against Nanakuli was forfeited.

The time off did worry Ka Makani head coach Steve Perry a bit, but those fears were quickly put to rest as Hawaii Prep came out against Sacred Hearts Academy on Thursday playing some of its best soccer of the season.

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Ka Makani defeated the No. 3 seed and ILH champion Lancers 4-2 in the quarterfinals of the HHSAA Division II tournament at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex.

“We played really well for the first 20 minutes and could have had a couple of more goals,” Perry said. “Our play really set a good tone for the game.”

The win advances Hawaii Prep to the semifinals where it will play No. 2 seed Kapaa in a rematch of last year’s state championship — a game which Ka Makani won by the slimmest of margins, 1-0.

“It is pretty much the same story line,” Perry said. “They will have a high back line and be very aggressive. They have a really good goal scorer in Brianna Binder and they will probably be seeking a little revenge from last season.”

Kapaa defeated BIIF third place squad Makua Lani 6-1 in their quarterfinal match on Thursday. Binder picked up a hat trick.

In their quarterfinal match, Hawaii Prep jumped on the Lancers for two goals in the first 20 minutes, which came off an own goal and a corner kick.

Emi Higgins, a two-time BIIF Player of the Year, scored on the corner with the kick being taken by Mari Camacho. The first goal bounced into the net off a Sacred Hearts player.

“On the first goal, Isabella Police brought the ball down the right flank. We had a couple of girls coming but it went off the defender and in,” Perry said. “

One of those girls was Higgins, who could have taken credit for the score, but didn’t.

“She is never one to steal the spotlight,” Perry said. “She is having a nice run in the playoffs right now and hopefully she can keep it going for two more days.”

Higgins added a second goal in the second half when she boomed a kick into the upper corner from 25 yards out.

While Higgins is leading the charge this season, she is not having to carry the load on her own.

“We have a few more bodies that are weapons this year and that is helping her out,” Perry said. “We have Jordan Zarate, Jenna Perry and Teah Van Bergen, and they can all be threats.”

Malia Brost scored the final goal for Hawaii Prep off a free kick that mirrored Higgins’ second goal.

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Sacred Hearts picked up a goal at the end of each half. The Hawaii Prep defense was led by midfielder’s Julia Perry and Zoe Ganley.

“Kekaimalie Woods was really good for them but we were able to make a few adjustments to pick up their center attack,” Steve Perry said. “It was a good game and we were able to empty our bench near the end.”