KEALAKEKUA — The saying goes, “there’s no ‘I’ in team.” However, Konawaena sophomore standout Kahana Freitas would like to point out, there’s no “I” in goal either.
Freitas netted the lone goal in the Wildcats’ 1-0 victory over Honokaa on Thursday at Julian Yates Field, giving Konawaena (1-2) its first win of the season and an important boost in the BIIF Division II race.
“It wasn’t ‘my’ goal,” said a modest Freitas, whose tally in the 36th minute was a beauty. “It was the team’s goal. A lot of my teammates did the right things to make it happen for us.”
Regardless of who gets the credit, the goal was a big one for the Wildcats in a rainy defensive battle against the visiting Dragons (1-2).
“We needed to get this one and get the momentum going,” Konawaena head coach Tod Ichishita said. “It was becoming a little bit of a monkey on our back.”
Freitas echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“It feels great to win as a team,” he said. “After the two losses to open the season we were feeling a bit down, but we stepped up our game today. I’m happy for everyone on this team.”
The Wildcats are young, starting eight sophomores. And as Ichishita notes, just four of his Wildcats participate in club soccer — a stark contrast to many of the other contending squads who carry a bevy of year-round players. What that means for Konawaena is that every game — win or lose — is rich with learning experiences.
“Because this is such a young team, we are still figuring things out, including finding our leadership. But players are starting to emerge for us,” Ichishita said. “The trust they have in each other has been the biggest difference. Trust that their teammates will make the right pass and it won’t have to be one player trying to take the ball through the whole team.”
The Wildcats have a good idea of what it will take to get to the top of D-II. Konawaena opened the season with a narrow 2-1 loss to Makua Lani (2-0), before falling on the road to defending D-II BIIF and state champion Kamehameha-Hawaii (3-1), 6-1. In a somewhat surprise, the Lions knocked off the Warriors on Wednesday 3-1 — a bit of evidence of what Ichishita believes.
“Like I said before, our division feels wide open,” Ichishita said. “We have been trying to rebuild and get some excitement going. These young gentleman are doing it and this win will give us some confidence going forward.”
Confident might be an understatement when it comes to the Wildcat players.
“We are bringing a state championship to Konawaena,” Freitas said in an effort to speak the team’s ultimate goal into existence. “If we keep up what we did today and keep improving, we can bring that title home.”
The Wildcats get a major test next, with defending D-I state champion Hawaii Preparatory Academy coming to Kealakekua on Saturday. Honokaa will try to get back on track against Makua Lani at Old Kona Airport Park the same day.
Hawaii Prep 6, Honokaa 0
The five-time D-II state champion Ka Makani moved to 2-0-1 with a victory against the Dragons in Waimea, using five different goal scorers in the win.
Malia Brost scored a pair, while Bella Police, Kahele Walsh, Catie Moynahan and Jenna Perry also found the back of the net.
Maia Mills, Sarah Kiernan and Regan Riley split the shutout in net.