As Christian Liberty’s Nakaiya Kerr reeled off one hat trick after another this season, opponents started to pay extra special attention to the senior striker.
With Louis Moylan lurking, however, it’s become a pick-your-poison scenario for boys soccer teams.
Moylan scored twice Wednesday and the Canefire defeated Kamehameha 3-1 at their field in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation semifinals, reaching the Division II finals for the fourth time in five years.
“Everybody keys on Nakaiya,” coach Troy Rimel said, “and that opens things up for Louis.”
Seeking the school’s first league championship, top-seeded Christian Liberty (11-3) will take on Hawaii Prep (9-3-3) at 7 p.m. Saturday in the title game at Kamehameha. Ka Makani beat Honokaa in penalty kicks in the other semifinal.
Rimel praised the Warriors (7-3-5) for a strong defensive effort that clogged the middle of the field and frustrated the Canefire. But he also has high admiration for the “maturity level” of his eight seniors, crediting them for their patience.
The group will be playing in its third straight BIIF final.
“It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Rimel said. “They’ve all been playing together since they were little. They have a lot of experience and are hungry.”
Nakaiya Kerr, who has eight hat tricks this season, junior Sequoya Kerr, who had two assists Thursday, and Moylan, a senior, worked to score three goals on throughballs.
“We slipped up three times,” Kamehameha coach Mario Patino said.
Nakaiya Kerr gave Christian Liberty a 1-0 lead in the first half, running onto a pass from his brother on the left side and left-footing a ball that tucked into the net far post.
Moylan played rover most of the match, at times subbing for Nakaiya Kerr up top.
Rimel’s favorite goal was the Canefire’s third one. Nakaiya Kerr pushed a ball on the ground that covered 25 yards and eluded the defense, catching Moylan in stride.
“Just gorgeous,” Rimel said.
Dominik Pajimola scored late in the match for the Warriors. Kamehameha will have another chance to reach its first Hawaii High School Athletic Association tournament since 2009 when it plays Honokaa at 3 p.m. Saturday in the third-place match.
“Do or die,” Patino said. “If we win we deserve to go. If not, we weren’t ready yet.”