By MATT GERHART
Tribune-Herald sports writer
Louis Moylan started at striker, which theoretically gave him one half to try and make an impact offensively for Christian Liberty’s boys soccer team.
It didn’t even take him three minutes.
Moylan, however, hardly needs to play up top to score goals. The Canefire’s do-it-all senior moved back to sweeper and tacked on another one Monday during a 3-0 victory at Waiakea.
How versatile is Moylan?
“We can probably put him anywhere,” coach Troy Rimel said. “It’s his maturity. He can handle it.”
The Canefire (7-2 Big Island Interscholastic Federation) appear set at goalkeeper, where Kiyoshi Kaili stood out during the latter stages of a victory that vaulted them into first place in the Division II standings. Christian Liberty, which was short-handed and still trying to recuperate from a 2-1 loss at Konawaena on Saturday, leads Honokaa by a point and controls its destiny in the race for the the top seed in the six-team playoffs. An outright regular-season champion also will garner an automatic berth in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association tournament.
“We want to get first place and get that birth to states,” Moylan said.
He and senior striker Nakaiya Kerr, who netted a goal and an assist, wasted little time in using their speed to take advantage of the Warriors’ slick, new turf field.
“It’s real nice and smooth,” Moylan said. “It’s kind of tiring because it’s a really, really long field.”
Kerr registered 10 of his team’s 19 shots, but he started off the afternoon with a crossing pass, which Moylan one-timed into the net from about 10 yards out in the third minute.
Kerr ran down Caedan Cambra’s throughball in the 23rd minute and connected for his team-high 22nd goal of the season as Christian Liberty led 2-0 at the halftime.
Rimel wasn’t particularly enthused with the room the Canefire yielded the Warriors’ Miles Marshall and Hajime Hayano, so he moved Moylan to the backline, allowing Cambra to navigate the midield. It was a bit of a role reveral for Moylan, who usually starts in the back and moves forward later in matches.
“I prefer sweeper,” he said. “I like playing defense.”
Moylan spent much of the second half clearing balls and making sure no one got behind him, but he netted his 12th goal of the season midway through with a 40-yard blast on a direct kick.
“The thing we like about him in the back is he’s a coach,” Rimel said. “He’s teaching and instructing back there.”
Goalkeeper Chris Wung made his best save of the match for Waiakea (6-4-1) when he stonewalled a streaking Kekoa Mundo, who fell hard on the play and had to exit the match. That left Christian Liberty without a bench player, and it opened up the field for the Warriors and their bumper crop of freshmen — Max Adolf, Gehrig Octavio and Michael Scott — who were repeatedly denied by Kaili.
The senior finished with nine saves, several of the dazzling variety. His favorite came when he dove to his left and into the air to deny Octavio.
“I trust my defense and work with them,” Kaili said. “If a striker sets themselves up, I trust the defense will cover the other post for me and get anything in front of the ball. That forces the striker to shoot to one side.”
Waiakea’s Ty Yamamoto also misfired on a breakaway.
The Warriors have lost two straight and are in danger of falling to the fourth seed in the Division I playoffs, which would likely set up another trip to Kealakehe in the semifinals. The Waveriders beat Waiakea 6-0 earlier this season at home.
Coach David Urakami said his team played well in spurts, which is starting to become a theme for the season.
“They compete, but the hardest part is getting them be committed for that (80) minutes,” he said. “They’ve come along way but I don’t want them to be content with that.”
Waiakea 8, East-Pac 0: Cheylee Octavio netted a hat trick as the host Warriors moved back into a tie with Hilo atop the wide-open Division I race.
Starcia Deponte scored twice, and Waiakea (7-2-1) also got goals from Jordan Melchor, Keisha Sato and Kaylee Valentino.
Melchor and Kaelee Carvalho combined on the shutout against East-Pac (3-7), which is line to be the fourth seed in the Division II playoffs.
Waiakea, which lost control of its destiny last Saturday in losing to Hawaii Prep, ends the regular season at home Saturday against Konawaena, which is only two points out first.