High school girls soccer: Baldwin edges Kamehameha in battle of state runner-ups

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KEALAKEKUA — The 8th annual Konawaena Wahine Wildcats Soccer Tournament kicked off with a special match on Friday, pitting the runner-up teams from Division I and Division II at last season’s HHSAA state tournament against each other.

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KEALAKEKUA — The 8th annual Konawaena Wahine Wildcats Soccer Tournament kicked off with a special match on Friday, pitting the runner-up teams from Division I and Division II at last season’s HHSAA state tournament against each other.

Kamehameha-Hawaii, the DII runner-up, and Baldwin battled on Julian Yates Field in a game that featured a lot of defense. The game remained scoreless until midway through the second half, when Bears halfback Bailey Keator burried the eventual winning goal. Baldwin won 1-0.

“Bailey was wide open at the top of the 18 and took a really nice shot with her left foot and it went right over the keeper’s head,” Baldwin coach Tia Medeiros said, who thought her team could have scored more in their first preseason game of the year. “We should have taken a lot more of those types of shots today. We would have added a couple more goals.”

The Bears struggled early in the game, showing signs that they had not seen live action since they walked off the pitch at last season’s state tourney.

Kamehameha-Hawaii controlled the pace for the first 20 minutes, while Baldwin was left with only the occasional counter-attack. However, neither team could penetrate the box and get an open shot, or really any shot, on goal.

Midway through the opening half, the tide began to turn as Baldwin’s passes got sharper. The Bears had several shots on goal as halftime neared, with their best shots coming off a high floater by Akasha Kauhola, a strike that sailed just over the crossbar, and Sela Panuve, who took a shot from the right side of the pitch, from about 25 yards out, that sailed passed a diving Warriors keeper but hit the near post and rolled out of bounds.

After the break, Baldwin’s pressure picked up. Kamehameha keeper Kiani Troy, playing in only the fifth soccer game of her career, did all she could to keep the game scoreless.

“She is a volleyball player and an athlete and she came up big for us today,” said Warriors head coach Joshua Woodard.

The Warriors showed why they were playing in the DII championship game last year by hanging with the Bears, despite missing six starters. Four Kamehameha players were attending the annual Surf Cup, a big soccer tournament in California, and two were visiting family for Thanksgiving.

With the game still scoreless approaching the 48th minute, Kamehameha had a great chance to take the lead after a foul set up a penalty kick by Courtney Kelii. Kelii put a solid foot on the ball, but it sailed inches over the crossbar and the game remained scoreless.

Baldwin finally broke through the Kamehameha defense with 22:14 left to play with the goal by Keator.

Kamehameha was never able to create a counter attack as the Bears dominated possession for the remainder of the game, nearly picking up several more goals if not for the play of Troy.

“We were pressured a lot but the defense played well,” Woodard said. “They got one good look and they finished it.”

The shutout was earned by a pair of young Baldwin keepers, Malie Kuia and Kiana Maghanoy. Kuia played the first half and Maghanoy relieved her in the second.

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“Malie, the sophomore, was our starting keeper last year and Kiana is only a freshman,” Medeiros said. “We might have to do half and half all year, but we will see how it goes. Kiana played well today, though she said she was really nervous before the penalty kick.”

Games will continue today at Julian Yates Field from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. before ending with the Guava Bowl between Konawaena and Kaiser at 6 p.m.

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