First of many: Nanea Tavares leads the Hawaii Prep girls soccer team to 2014 state championship

  • Hawaii Prep’s Nanea Tavares sinks in the winning goal against Mid-Pacific on Feb. 8, 2014 at the Wapio Peninsula Soccer Stadium in Waipahu. (Eric Alcantara/West Hawaii Today File Photo)

Editor’s note: While the sports world is shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, West Hawaii Today will look back every Tuesday at memorable sports moments on the Big Island.

For seven consecutive seasons, Hawaii Prep girls soccer head coach Steve Perry has led Ka Makani past their BIIF competitors to Honolulu to win the HHSAA Division II state title. This past February, the team once again celebrated winning a championship trophy with a 4-1 victory over the Kauai Red Raiders.

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Ka Makani now makes winning look easy, but it wasn’t always that way for HPA. In 2012 and 2013, Ka Makani walked away from the state tournament in heartbreak, losing both title games to the Mid Pacific Owls (1-0 in 2012 and 2-0 in 2013).

The team’s string of bad luck changed to a streak of greatness on Feb. 8, 2014, when the HPA girls defeated Mid Pacific in overtime 2-1 to win the program’s first state championship.

“With the score knotted at 1-1 in the match’s first 10-minute overtime frame, HPA pushed the tempo and used an aggressive offensive front to create space in the attacking half,” the Hawaii Tribune-Herald’s Kevin Jakahi wrote in a Feb. 9, 2014 article published in West Hawaii Today. “In the 86th minute, sophomore Marlie Mandaguit lobbed an outlet pass to midfielder Nanea Tavares. The senior received the pass, and as Mid Pacific goalkeeper Sarah Poppinga appeared to hesitate and rock backwards, Tavares evaded the last line of defense and deftly headed the ball into the net.”

With the state title win, HPA ended the 2013-14 season with a 13-2-1 record. It was the school’s 14th overall state title. Just a few weeks later, HPA’s boys basketball team would capture their first state title, bringing Ka Makani’s total to 15.

“We worked really hard to get where we are,” HPA senior Tavares said of the school’s first girls soccer state championship. “I love this team.”

Tavares would leave Ka Makani in good hands. In 2015, then-seniors Teia Knoll, Ella Kotner, Bri Vallente and captain Gabbie Ewing led HPA to a fourth consecutive DII title match against Mid Pacific, winning by a wider margin this time, 5-1.

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“I never really doubted that we could (repeat),” Knoll told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald’s Matt Gerhart. “We have really great coaches and we just do what we do.”

HPA and coach Perry have been doing just that the last seven seasons at the state tournament. Once sports return next school year, maybe the team can capture No. 8.

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