By JOE FERRARO
WAIMEA — Honokaa boys soccer coach Maurice Miranda said senior forward’s Dylan Oandasan’s footwork has plenty of room for improvement.
However, Oandasan gave the Dragons a spark in the first round of the Ka Makani Soccer Classic by displaying something Miranda or any other coach cannot teach: speed.
In a rematch of last year’s Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II state final, Oandasan scored the go-ahead goal in the 58th minute as Honokaa beat Kapaa 2-1 on Friday at Hawaii Prep.
Oandasan capped the scoring when he streaked down the left flank and ran onto a cross from Sean Quinlan before burying a shot into the lower left corner of the net.
He also played a role in the Dragons game-tying goal, getting pulled down by a Warriors defender near the top of the box. That led to a free kick Justin Warren drilled into the lower right corner in the 36th minute.
The Dragons’ victory gave them a spot in the tournament semifinals, where Honokaa will play Mid-Pacific of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
“He’s got speed,’’ Miranda said of Oandasan. “Just his speed alone, it’s scary. If we can just get his feet a little better.’’
However, Miranda didn’t single out Oandasan when discussing players who needed work on their first touch.
“To a man, their skill level needs to get up for us to contend,’’ he said.
The Dragons graduated the core group of Chayce Moniz, Dylan Shiraki, Robert Connors, Alden Aguirre and Maikai Coelho, who led Honokaa to back-to-back state titles and played under Miranda on youth soccer teams before they entered high school.
That leaves Miranda with a starting lineup that features just three returning starters in defender Tony Connors, midfielder Justin Warren and forward Clayton Robinson.
Robinson, who scored seven goals last season, hasn’t played at all this season because of an abdominal muscle injury.
One of the other starters on the back line, Ethan McArdle, is playing organized soccer for the first time.
“Last year, I was just driving the bus,’’ Miranda joked. “This year, I have to coach.”
It appears Miranda won’t have much to worry about at goalkeeper.
Senior Cassidy Dixon, a transfer from the Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science, made seven saves against a Kapaa team that enjoyed a significant edge in time of possession and scoring chances.
The Warriors outshot the Dragons 17-10.
Dixon made quality saves on headers by Joshua Cram and Dylan Devin in the first half, and he charged out of the net to smother the ball after beautifully anticipating a breakaway opportunity for Edsel Lactaotao in the 55th minute.
“We hung him out to dry, and he bailed us out a few times,’’ Miranda said of Dixon.
A Warriors team that returns 12 seniors methodically moved the ball from end to end against the Dragons with crisp passing.
Cram gave Kapaa a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute after grabbing the rebound off his own free kick and drilling a shot that bounced back to him in the penalty box. The senior then buried a shot inside the left goalpost.
“We got caught flat (on defense) a few times, which made it a horserace,’’ Miranda said.
Devin almost tied the match in the 53rd minute, when he ripped a close-range shot that hit the left post.
“The boys possessed the ball well,’’ Kapaa coach Kevin Cram said. “It’s just a matter of making the right choices (defensively).’’
Kevin Cram said the team is slowing bringing along sophomore Austyn Carvalho-Toloia at goalkeeper. Carvalho-Toloia played in the first half against the Dragons, while J.B. Goode took over in net after the intermission.
Miranda expects the Warriors to make a strong run at a state title.
“They’re a contender,’’ he said.
c Hawaii Prep 8, Lahainaluna 1: Marlie Mandaguit notched a hat trick, scoring a goal that gave Ka Makani a 4-0 halftime lead and tacking on two more in the first five minutes of the second half.
Lauren Pries found the back of the net twice, while Teia Knoll, Emily Evans and Gabbie Ewing each scored once for HPA, which will play Kapaa at 2:45 p.m. today in the tournament semifinals.
Maile Altier scored the lone goal for the Lunas, who will face Kealakehe at the same time today in the consolation bracket semifinals.