After a two-year drought at states, the Hilo High girls are heading back to Oahu.
Seniors Lolly Higa and Taylor Matas scored goals Saturday against Hawaii Prep in Waimea to spur a 2-1 victory that secured a Hawaii High School Athletic Association soccer tournament berth for the Vikings.
“Two years, that’s a long time for Hilo,” coach Paul Bello said. “We missed it, and now we’re heading back.”
But first, Hilo (9-1-1), the outright regular-season champion in Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I, hosts Waiakea on Wednesday in the tournament semifinals as it seeks its first league title since 2011.
“I’m just happy for the seniors,” Bello said. “They hadn’t been to states since they were freshmen.”
As they have most of the season, the Vikings rode their seniors against Ka Makani (8-2-1), who already have locked down a state berth in Division II.
Higa put Hilo on the board in the 17h minute, collecting a pass from senior Delcee Ramos and finding the back of the net from 25 yards out. The score remained 1-0 until Higa fed Matas, who outran three players for a 30-yard stretch and scored on a breakaway with a blast from 20 yards out.
Bri Vallente netted a goal on a direct kick in the 75th minute for HPA.
Hilo assistant Curtis Chong hailed senior goalkepeer Jordyn Breitbarth for making four to five big saves to thwart Ka Makani — and for being a team savior all season.
“We couldn’t have done it without her personal drive to be one of the best keepers in the BIIF,” Chong said.
Waiakea handed Hilo its only loss of the regular season Dec. 11 at the Warriors’ field.
“That was a long time ago,” Bello said. “This group has come together and will do anything together.”
In search of its fifth straight Division II title, HPA turns its attention to a semifinal match against East-Pac (3-8) in Waimea on Tuesday.
“Hilo really came out and set the tone in the first half,” HPA coach Steve Perry said. “I was happy to see our girls respond in the second half with energy and a better commitment to the ball. We worked hard to get chances in front, but we did a poor job finishing our chances and Hilo’s defense and goalkeeper did a good job clearing the box.”
“Hopefully we can clean up a few things before the playoffs next week.”
Konawaena 3, Waiakea 0: Anathena Tuppein netted a hat trick as the visiting Wildcats secured the second seed and a home playoff match in the BIIF Division I semifinals.
“We made some small mistakes, and (Anathena) is a little tough to mark,” Waiakea coach Jason Nakayama said.
Taiana Tolleson blanked the Warriors (7-3-1) in goal.
Konawaena (8-1-2) will host Kealakehe (7-1-3) on Wednesday in the semifinals.
Kealakehe 9, East-Pac 0: Sophia Benacquista scored her first hat trick of the season and the Waveriders ended the regular season on a nine-game unbeaten streak.
Logan Harris, Lexi Cuaresma, Helen Remke, Tiara Conn, Kaili’i Smith and Alysa Gamache also had goals for Kealakehe, and Sulley Schuster and Alysha Prados each had hands in the shutout.
Honokaa 1, Keaau 1: Allie Shiraki scored for the visiting Dragons, while Charity Dunaway found the back of the net for the Cougars.
Honokaa (4-6-1) ended a four-match losing streak heading to its Division II semifinal Tuesday at Kamehameha.
Keaau’s season is over at 4-6-1.
Kealakehe 6, Christian Liberty 0: Laukoa Santos and Daniel Caudell each scored twice in Keaau and the Waveriders dominated a battle of division front-runners to clinch a berth at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association tournament.
Nicholas Joersz and Scott Henderson each tallied goals for Kealakehe (11-0-1), the outright regular-season champion in Division I. Greyson Moore was credited with the shutout. The Waveriders finish the regular season Thursday at Konawaena, and with a victory they would host the Wildcats on Feb. 5 in the BIIF semifinals.
The Canefire (8-3) still control their destiny in Division II with two matches remaining.
Waiakea 2, Konawaena 1: Hajime Hayano scored a goal, and Ty Yamamoto was credited with another on an own goal as the host Warriors put forth their best effort of the season.
“The most heart we’ve shown all year,” coach David Urakami said. “I think the team surprised themselves.”
Michael Gusman accounted for Konawaena’s goal.
With the victory, Waiakea finished the regular season at 8-4-1 and leapfrogged the Wildcats (7-3-2) for third place in Division I. The Warriors will be third seeded third in the BIIF semifinals and visit Hilo on Feb. 5 — unless Konawaena beats Kealakehe on Thursday. A Wildcats victory would send the Warriors to Kealakehe in the semifinals.
Hawaii Prep 2, Hilo 1: Justin Perry had a hand in both of his teams goals in Waimea, and Ka Makani held on to boost its chances of hosting a playoff match in Division II.
HPA (6-2-3) led 2-0 at the half thanks to Perry. In about the 15th minute, the sophomore sent a throughball that Kama Hurwitz gathered and put into the net despite losing his shoe. Approximately 10 minutes later, Perry took the ball around midfield and beat three defenders by himself for a score.
Casey Nakatsu scored for the Vikings (9-2-1) on a penalty kick after a foul in the box.
Both teams drew yellow cards in the second half, and HPA coach Rich Braithwaite said Hilo controlled possession during the last 20 minutes of the match.
“It was 10 on 10, and we just hunkered down trying to keep the lead,” Braithwaite said. “This is a big result for us.”
Hilo, which had its nine-game unbeaten streak snapped, will be the No. 2 seed in the Division I playoffs and will host a BIIF semifinal Feb. 5.
Kamehameha 2, Makua Lani 0: Koa Thompson found the back of the net and Ric Moke-Rabang converted on a penalty kick at Paie Field in Keaau for the Warriors, who finished their season unbeaten in their last five matches.
Jonah Brown and Sean Miday shared in the shutout for Kamehameha (6-2-5), which moved to within a point of first place in Division II but must sit and wait as the rest of the contenders finish their schedules. The Warriors are assured of home match in the playoffs.
“I like where we are at,” coach Mario Patino said. “We haven’t peaked yet. We are still getting better.”
The Lions (5-5-1) are likely destined for the fifth seed and a road playoff game in Division II.
Parker 3, Hawaii Academy of Art & Science 0: Goals by Skyler Pleuss, Aolani Pieper and Hunter Weigle in Waimea lifted the Bulls to their first victory of the season.
Jourdan Evangelista secured the shutout for Parker (1-10-1).
“He was awesome,” Parker athletic director Ceri Whitfield said.
Na Naia finished their season 0-13.
Honokaa 3, Keaau 1: Preston Branco, Tony Connors and Kauiki Feliciano all compiled goals as the visiting Dragons climbed to within a point of first place in Division II.
The top two teams in Division II will secure byes in the first round of the playoffs. Honokaa (7-2-2) can ensure a top-two finish with wins Tuesday at home against Makau Lani and Friday at Hawaii Prep.
Justin Quesada had goal for the Cougars, whose season is over at 3-9-1.
Division II semifinals
No. 4 Makua Lani (3-8) at No. 1 Hawaii Prep (8-2-1), 3 p.m.
No. 3 Honokaa (4-6-1) at No. 2 Kamehameha (7-3-1), TBA
Division I semifinals
No. 4 Waiakea (7-3-1) at No. 1 Hilo (9-1-1), 3 p.m.
No. 3 Kealakehe (7-1-3) at No. 2 Konawaena (8-1-2), TBA
Division II third-place game
Semifinal losers, TBA
Division II championship
Semifinal winners, 5 p.m.
Division I championship
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.