Soccer: Waiakea boys claim Volcano soccer tournament

  • Waiakea’s Kai Biegler, right, tries to make a move against KB’s Jonathan DeMotta on Sunday during the under-19 boys title match at the Volcano International Soccer Tournament. (MATT GERHART/Tribune-Herald)

HILO — Waiakea boys soccer has another reason to think big.

BIIF titles aren’t won in the summer, but Waiakea achieved the next best thing Sunday at Hilo Bayfront, beating KB 2-1 in penalty kicks to claim the under-19 boys championship at the Volcano International Soccer Tournament.

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“This was a tough game,” coach Grant Todd said. “Our boys just came out hard, they came hungry, they pushed through and brought their best game.”

Waiakea had the better of the scoring chances as it tried to break a 1-1 during the second half, but one play in particular made the match seem destined for penalty kicks.

Here’s something you don’t see everyday: Waiakea took an indirect kick from just outside the goal area, about 7 yards out, after K5 was called for a pass-back, but couldn’t convert.

Waiakea keeper Kainalu Mattos made the only save of the shootout and Kai Bielger, John Grover, Colby Kerr and Riley Tamanaha converted their PKs.

“When a goalkeeper makes a save in (a PK), it takes some luck,” Todd said. “but it takes a lot of skill, knowing the player and how they are going to kick. It takes skill.”

Grover gave Waiakea the lead in the first half with a goal, but Jonathan DeMotta netted the equalizer for KB, which was put together by Kamehameha coach Kevin Waltjen, though the team was not directly related to the school.

“It’s 50-50,” Waltjen said of the shootout. “It can go either way.”

His team featured two Kamehameha alums, DeMotta, a 2019 grad, and David Erskine (2018) but was otherwise primarily made up of returning players.

A Waltjen-led team won the tournament last season, and Todd thought this was the first time Waiakea claimed Volcano.

Waiakea players will now head off to their club teams, and some may participate in football or cross-country before they reunite for high school soccer practice in the fall under coach David Urakami. If not the D-I favorite, Waiakea certainly will be among the favorites as the Warriors seek to end their 13-year title drought.

“I’m very proud of this team, very proud,” said Todd, an assistant during the BIIF season. “They developed, played together, and got tight, and I think this is going to be a good segue to our season.”

In the U19 girls final, Chicas capped off a dominating run, capturing its third consecutive Volcano title with a 6-0 victory against Valencia, Calif. Haley Miyasato, Nanea Wall and Booboo Corpuz scored two goals apiece.

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In the U14 final, the Chicas fell short, 2-1 to a team from East Los Angeles.

Rush Big Island captured U12 boys with a 4-3 victory against Excel Soccer Club. Na Hoa O Puna beat Hilo Galaxies 1-0 in the U10 boys final, and Nero claimed an all-Rush Big Island final in U10 girls, winning 3-2.

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