For the past week, Kealakehe girls soccer coach Jim Smith wondered if anybody could contribute the speed and ball possession skills of injured senior forward Kari Van Mols.
Ana Tuppein gave Smith the answer he wanted, and the Kealakehe coach got “bonus” offensive contributions from several other sources.
“It was a good way to start the season,” Smith said after the host Waveriders defeated Konawaena 4-2 on Wednesday in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation season opener for both teams.
Jade Richmond and Lexie Cuaresma gave Kealakehe a 2-0 lead with goals in the first and 20th minutes, respectively, and Tuppein later capped the scoring with an insurance goal in the 64th minute after Chloe Delaney got the Wildcats within 3-2 by converting a penalty kick in the 53rd minute.
Kealakehe played without Van Mols, who is nursing a knee injury. She scored 20 goals last season.
“(Tuppein) likes to make runs that are 30 and 50 yards long, and she has the speed and ability to do it,” Smith said. “She can dribble with the ball at great speeds.”
Mika Bettencourt tallied Kealakehe’s other goal in the 32nd minute.
Smith said junior goalkeeper Sulley Schuster made four quality saves in the match.
“I thought (two shots) were going in, but she picked them out of the sky,” Smith said.
Makani Wall tallied Konawaena’s other goal in the 22nd minute.
Makua Lani hosted boys and girls soccer matches against Kohala at Old Kona Airport Park on Wednesday.
The host Lions did not report game information on the matches.