By J.R. De GROOTE
Stephens Media Hawaii
KAILUA-KONA — Massive surf crashing into the coastline was the backdrop as Waiakea and Kealakehe took the field Saturday at Kealakehe High School. The Waveriders — much like those unstoppable 20- to 25-foot waves on the horizon — crushed the visiting Waiakea Warriors 6-0, improving to 3-0 on the young Big Island Interscholastic Federation boys soccer season.
“It was a very dominate performance today,” Kealakehe head coach Urs Leuenberger said. “We stepped it up from our preseason tournaments and really played a complete game today,”
Nicholas Joersz sparked Kealakehe early with a pair of assists to Marc Takahashi and Scott Henderson, giving Kealakehe the 2-0 edge.
“All week long we have worked on creating chances in front of the net instead of relying of free kicks or corners,” Leuenberger said. “Today, the first two goals were proof of what we have been trying to do — play a direct but controlled type of soccer. ”
The Waveriders continued to pressure consistently — adding another goal before half — but it was not until midway through the second stanza when Kealakehe forward Josh Lopez followed up a blocked shot to make it 4-0 that the floodgates opened and the ‘Riders ran away it.
“We knew Waiakea was a good team and remained dangerous really until after that fourth goal,” Leuenberger said.
Henderson’s second goal of the day came on a brilliant individual effort, stealing the ball from a Waiakea defender and gently lobbing a shot past the surprised Waiakea keeper.
The Waveriders potent offense kept the scoreboard crew active, but the ball possession dominance by Kealakehe was even more impressive. Outside of an early chance by the Warriors in the first minute, Kealakehe maintained control for most of the game. The only time the ball ended up in Kealakehe’s end was on a Waiakea attempts to clear the ball and relieve pressure.
“We controlled the ball much better than we had previously against Hilo, but that often has to do with the opponent and whether they let you or not,” Leuenberger said. “I felt Waiakea was hanging back a little and waiting to counter attack.”
Another thing Leuenberger was pleased with was being able to get his bench some experience. Kealakehe had all 25 players touch the field Saturday.
“They got a taste of it and will mean a lot for future play,” Leuenberger said.
Mike Keon added the final goal for Kealakehe and senior Ariel Lima also earned some ink on the score sheet.
It’s not often that a goalkeeper who allows six goals can be praised for his play, but Waiakea keeper Christopher Wung did an excellent job on the tidal wave of Kealakehe chances. Wung made highlight reel saves for the Warriors (3-2), including a breakaway stop and a half-dozen multiple-stop rallies with action in front of his net.
For Kealakehe, sophomore Greyson Moore recorded the shutout.
Kamehameha 3, Honokaa 3: The Warriors’ Colton Hill had a hat trick in the first half, but Tony Connor’s goal early in the second half relegated visiting Kamehameha to its fourth draw of the season.
Preston Branco and Seanry Agbayani scored in the first half as the Dragons (4-0-1) trailed 3-2 at the break.
After Connors tied it, Honokaa coach Maurice Miranda said his team continued to try to string together scoring chances. However, he said the Warriors (2-0-4) were happy to boom the ball out of their end at every chance.
“Different styles,” Miranda said. “We played to win, they played not to lose.
“We just missed on some opportunities.”
Hilo 3, Konawaena 1: Nick Carter scored twice and Kalei Perry added a goal as the Vikings ( 3-1-1) prevailed in Kealakekua.
Brandon Howes found the back of the net for the Wildcats (2-2-1), who have lost two straight.
Makua Lani 3, Ka’u 1: James Whalen’s two goals carried the Lions (2-1) in Pahala, while DJ Madigan also scored.
Kupono Palakiko Leffow put the Trojans (1-5) on the scoreboard.
Kohala def. Hawaii Academy of Arts &Science, forfeit: The Cowboys improved to 2-4, while Na Naia dropped to 0-6.
Hilo 2, Konawaena 1: Lolly Higa scored on a breakaway in the 49th minute for the game-winner as the Vikings won a Division I showdown in Kealakekua.
Late in the first half, Evyn-Bree Helekahi-Kaiwi connected off a rebound to tie the match for Hilo (3-1-1).
Chloe Delaney had given the Wildcats (2-1-2) the lead in the 29th minute.
Makua Lani 7, Ka’u 0: Haley Onaka tallied four goals and Sina Easley also netted a hat trick as the visiting Lions (1-3) notched their first victory of the season.
The Trojans (0-5) competed despite only having nine players.
Kamehameha 6, Honokaa 1: Sachi Iwata and Harper Hottendorf each scored twice as the Warriors won convincingly in Honokaa.
Tiana Iwata and Jaysha Alonzo-Estrada added goals for Kamehameha (2-2-1).
Ashlynn Kaiamakini found the back of the net off a throw-in for the Dragons (3-2).