By MATT GERHART
Tribune-Herald sports writer
Nikolai Shumov’s first go-ahead goal was quickly erased by Honokaa, but the Hilo freshman maintained the proper mindset.
“We had to work hard and get another goal on the board,” Shumov said.
That ultimately led to the perfect response.
Shumov put his team ahead again, this time for good late in the second half, and the Vikings continued their surge Saturday with a 4-2 victory against the Dragons in a riveting Big Island Interscholastic Federation boys soccer match at Hilo Bayfront.
“The way that we responded is exactly how we should have,” Hilo coach Cameron Castillo said. “Come back, score a goal, put Honokaa on their back and continue to put them on their back. Control the game.”
In a back-and-forth match that featured inspired play and several scoring chances on both sides, Castillo wasn’t surprised that Shumov, a freshman, was a difference-maker.
“He’s very creative and not scared to shoot the ball, even though he is a freshman,” Castillo said. “Very talented; one of the more talented players in the league. Just trying to mature him as a player. He’s been showing throughout the season.”
Kalei Perry added an insurance goal late, taking a pass from Keola Keleolio and chipping a shot past Honokaa goalkeeper Elzer Maltezo, who was put to the test for most of the match.
Keleolio finished with two assists, one of which set up Shumov’s first goal from about 18 yards out.
“I started kind of slow at the beginning of the season,” Shumov said. “My coaches helped me have some confidence after my first goal (of the season). I haven’t been shutout since.”
And neither has Hilo lately. The Vikings (8-1-1) are picking up steam heading toward the Division I playoffs, having gone unbeaten in their past eight matches.
“It’s the goal of this team to peak in the playoffs, and that’s what we’re doing,” Castillo said. “We’re getting into shape and playing our best soccer.”
Jevin Dement and Preston Branco scored for the Dragons (6-2-2), who also lost some ground in the tightening Division II race. First-place Honokaa leads Christian Liberty and Hawaii Prep by two points in the standings.
The entertaining match had three goals and two lead changes in the final 15 minutes and featured two teams with similar styles. Each was intent on combining passes to control possession and create scoring chances. Honokaa has been playing that way for years under the direction of coach Maurice Miranda, while Hilo is adopting and fine-tuning system in Castillo’s first season.
“They play through the middle just like us,” Castillo said. “We wanted it more at the end.”
Said Miranda: “Even under pressure, Hilo put a good touch on the ball. They put lot of pressure on our outside people.”
Casey Nakatsu did as much in creating the game-winner. Pinching in from his fullback position, Nakatsu ran unmarked down the left flank and put a shot on the front post. Shumov headed in the rebound.
“We’re ready for anything,” Shumov said.
On Saturday, that included a resilient effort from the Dragons, especially the second half.
Branco, on his birthday, almost beat the Hilo defense by himself and ripped a shot into the net with about 15 minutes left to tie the game 2-2.
Honokaa survived Hilo’s initial surge to start the second half — Hilo’s Kinohi Betts rattled the crossbar with a blast — and tied the match 1-1 when Dement ran down a throughball from Tony Connors and scored on a breakaway.
Nakatsu accounted for the only goal of the first half, converting on a penalty kick after Betts was fouled in the box.
“Hilo definitely won this game and was the better team,” Miranda said. “We made some mistakes, but good teams make you do that.
“They had some opportunities to blow it open, but we fought to stay in it. We played with a lot of character.”
Hawaii Prep 1, Waiakea 0: Justin Perry scored midway through the second half to lift the visiting Ka Malani (5-2-3).
On the play, Warriors coach David Urakami said goalkeeper Chris Wung ranged away from the net to play a ball against Perry, who promptly headed the ball in the net.
“I’m not even sure if he was trying to score,” said Urakami, who felt his team missed a number of point-blank scoring opportunities.
HPA’s Trent Wise recorded the shutout against the Warriors (6-3-1).
Kamehameha 3, Kohala 1: Logan Uyetake put the Warriors (4-2-5) ahead with a goal in the first half in Kapaau, and John DeRamos and Koa Thompson added second-half goals as Kamehameha won a physical affair.
Ricky Ching’s penalty kick put Kohala (2-9) on the board on the second half.
Makua Lani 7, Keaau 1: James Whalen’s hat trick carried the host Lions, who have won three of their past four matches to secure a spot in the Division II playoffs.
Taylor Mabuni, Aidan Alcos, Sean Vidana and Riley Pries also posted goals for Makua Lani (5-3-1).
Richard Kanakaole scored for the Cougars (3-7-1).
Kealakehe 16, Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science 1: Scott Henderson, Ariel Lima and Keoni Yates each bagged hat tricks as the Waveriders remained the only unbeaten team on the island.
Cappy Alterman added two goals, and Daniel Caudell, Zach Kaneshiro, Michael Von Rumohr and Laukoa Santos each scored once at Waverider Stadium.
The scorer for Na Naia was not available.
Konawaena 2, Christian Liberty 1: The Wildcats scored late in the match at home to improve to 6-2-2.
Konawaena’s scorers were not available.
Sequoya slotted in a penalty kick for the Canefire (6-2), who missed on a chance to take over first place in Division II.
Hilo 4, Honokaa 3: Lolly Higa’s game-winning goal with less than a minute remaining at Hilo Bayfront vaulted the Vikings into sole possession of first place in Division I.
Serena Nasworthy set up the play, drawing Dragons defenders and slotting a pass to Higa, who scored from 8 yards out.
Taylor Matas, Jasmine Smeraglia and Mehana Sabado-Halpern also netted goals for Hilo (7-1-1), which now controls its destiny in the playoff race.
Honokaa’s Nina Cardoza scored in the 73rd minute to tie the match 3-3. Allie Shiraki produced the other two goals for the Dragons (4-5).
Hawaii Prep 3, Waiakea 0: Goals by Erin Evans, Bri Vallente and Emma Taylor lifted the visiting Ka Makani (7-1-1).
Morgan Monahan and Taimane Kamaka combined on the shutout.
While HPA has all but clinched the top seed in the Division II playoffs, the loss was a damaging one for the Warriors (6-2-1), who fell from first to third in Division I.
“We have to regroup and battle back,” Waiakea coach Jason Nakayama said. “We still have a lot to play for.”
Keaau 4, Makua Lani 0: Tori Teanio and Mahea Kakazu each scored twice at Old Kona Airport Park to spur the Cougars, who evened their mark at 4-4-1.
Savannah Hester shut out the Lions (2-7).
Kamehameha 8, Kohala 0: Bryana Ebbers netted a hat trick and JC Kerr found the back of the net twice as the Warriors went on the road to win their third straight match.
Kekai Wong Yuen, Kahala Huddleston, Sara DuVoisin and Pili Nahale-a also scored for Kamehameha (5-3-1), which is positioned to be the second seed in the Division II playoffs.
Goalkeeper Cyrene Andaya kept her sheet clean against Cowgirls (1-9).
Konawaena 6, East-Pac 0: The Wildcats (6-1-2) won at home to move into second place in Division I.
East-Pac fell to 3-6 in match in which the scorers were not available.