By J.R. De GROOTE
Stephens Media Hawaii
KEALAKEKUA — The Konawaena Wildcats girls soccer team has been known for notoriously slow starts to the season. That was not the case Saturday as the Wildcats kicked off their Big Island Interscholstic Federation season with an impressive 5-1 against Kamehameha.
“It was fantastic and I’m very proud of the girls,” Konawaena coach Guy Miranada said. “In preseason we looked lethargic, but now we are starting to pick it up. We have some injuries but are sucking it up and staying strong.”
Konawaena’s good start was in large part because of the play of Anathena Tuppein, who scored four goals. The senior forward scored a rare natural hat trick — three goals with no other player scoring — in the first half and put the Wildcats firmly in control of the game.
“I expected them to come out really tough and they did, but I loved it,” Tuppein said. “There were a lot of open area on the sides, so I was able to sneak the goals in.”
Tuppien scored just under five minutes into the game and closed out the half with two goals within a two minute span to put the host Wildcats up 3-0 going to the half.
The Warriors came out of the break with renewed energy, racking up chances but being turned away by the stiff Konawaena defense. Miranda was quick to note the efforts from his team that won’t show up on the scoresheet.
“Chole Delaney did a great job in the middle, eliminating their chances with her hustle,” he said. “The backline was fantastic and both keepers did good in net. It was a huge team effort.”
Tuppien added to her total with a goal in the 72nd minute and junior forward Kaulana Ruedy added another minutes later for good measure.
The lone Kamehameha goal came on a penalty kick in the 69th minute by Tiana Iwata. The Warriors fall to 1-1 in the young season.
For the Wildcats, the focus now shifts to Tuesday’s game against crosstown rival Kealakehe.
“I told them after the game they can have this win for tonight, but tomorrow they will have to start thinking about Kealakehe,” Miranda said. “They are a lot faster than us, so we are going to have to counter their speed with teamwork.”
For Tuppien, it will be a homecoming to the school she attended for the first three years of her high school career.
“From playing there I know a lot of the players moves,” Tuppien said with a grin. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Hawaii Prep 11, Ka‘u 0: Gabbie Ewing, Erin Evans and Jordan Grainger each netted two goals as Ka Makani improved to 2-0 by winning in Kapaau. HPA also goat a goal apiece from Teia Knoll, Brittani Boora, Emma Taylor, Bri Vallente and Ivy Conley.
Taimane Kamaka came away with the shut out against the Trojans (0-2).
Waiakea 9, Kohala 0: Chelyee Octavio opened the Warriors’ season with a five-goal onslaught in Kapaau.
Kylie Robertson added two goals, and Karise Kuroda and Cierra Toledo-Muragin had one apiece for Waiakea.
Goalkeepers Kaelee Carvalho and Jordan Melchor shared in the shutout against the Cowgirls (0-2).
Waiakea 6, Kohala 0: Freshman Michael Scott netted a hat trick and freshman Max Adolf added two goals as the visiting Warriors won their opener.
Jamal Marshall also scored for Waiakea and Chris Wung shut out the Cowboys (0-2) in goal.
Kamehameha 1, Konawaena 1: Koa Thompson scored in the first half for the Warriors, and the Wildcats answered with a goal in the second half during a draw in Kealakekeua that left both teams 1-0-1.
The goal scorer for Konawaena was not available are press time.
Liam Kenoi had an assist for Kamehameha.
Hilo 9, Parker 0: The Vikings won their opener in Waimea, but goal scorers were not available at press time.
The Bulls fell to 0-2.
Hawaii Prep at Ka’u: The score was not reported by the host Trojans and was unavailable at press time.
Honokaa at Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science: The score was not reported by host Na Naia and was unavailable at press time.