By MICAH LEWTER
With tricky crosswinds wreaking havoc on the playing field, Kealakehe kept doing the only thing it knew to do on Sunday: Keep firing at the goal.
The Division I Waveriders peppered the Honokaa goal in the championship game of the Ka Makani Soccer Classic, but only one shot went through. Still, it was enough for the Waveriders in a 1-0 win at Hawaii Prep’s campus in Waimea.
“The score doesn’t reflect what really happened,” Kealakehe coach Urs Leuenberger said. “It was a pretty one-sided game.
“We played most of the 80 minutes on their side of the (field). But the wind was really brisk, and it was hard to be precise.”
Honokaa coach Maurice Miranda agreed with the assessment of the game, though he did not find the wind to be as much of a factor.
“The score was close,” Miranda said.
Leuenberger estimated the shot differential at 20-2 in the first half and 23-2 in the second, but the sideways wind made it hard to play cleanly.
The Waveriders scored the game-winner in the 13th minute when Daniel Caudell took advantage of a backdoor pass from Keoni Yates. Yates sliced the pass across the penalty box to Caudell, who put the ball into the net.
“Just one error on our goalkeeper,” Miranda said. “It looked like it might have been two people offsides, but they didn’t call it. He might have thought they were offside and really didn’t make a play on the ball.”
The goal was all the Waveriders would need, though they had some more opportunities to score.
“We had several 100 percent chances, but we’re not in that phase of the season yet,” Leuenberger said. “We haven’t had a lot of time to work on finishing and breakaway and that kind of thing.”
Miranda praised goalkeeper Cassidy Dixon, who made three or four saves in the game, often on plays where there was little defensive help.
“We gave up a lot of one-on-ones, and he did a good job,” Miranda said.”He’s a big reason we’re still competitive.”
Freshman goalkeeper Greyson Moore earned the win for Kealakehe, though he was not really challenged.
“He had a couple breakaways where he reacted well,” Leuenberger said.
Both teams were playing many different players, trying to get some new players some experience. Miranda said the Division II Dragons played without four starters, and he sees some need for improvement in particular positions.
“Guys (on defense) are still learning how to clear the ball and kick it up the field instead of kicking it out of bounds,” Miranda said. “If you kick it out of bounds, Keoni Yates is so good on throw-ins, it’s like a corner kick.
“We had problems just getting the ball up the field.”
In the girls tournament, King Kekaulike defeated Kapaa 2-0.