Na Alii take sole possession of second
OLINDA – The King Kekaulike High School girls soccer team has shown it can play the game well.
Now, Na Alii can only watch to see if their season will continue.
King Kekaulike finished its Maui Interscholastic League schedule with a 4-0 victory over MIL Division II champion Seabury Hall at the Spartans’ windy field on Monday, taking sole possession of second place in the Division I standings.
Na Alii (10-2-2) have 32 points, three more than Maui High, which plays first-place Kamehameha Maui today at Kanaiaupuni Stadium and has a yet-to-be-scheduled make-up match with Lahainaluna on its slate.
“We have practice early tomorrow,” said Kisa Giebink, who scored Na Alii’s third goal. “I’m not sure if the coaches know how bad we want to watch the (Maui High-Kamehameha Maui) game, but we will definitely be there.”
Na Alii picked up the crucial three points three days after surrendering a 4-1 second-half lead in a 4-4 tie with Baldwin.
“We are definitely preparing and hoping for postseason play,” said Giebink, a senior fullback and captain. “We were slightly disappointed with the Baldwin game – we definitely wanted it. We are really good at bouncing back. We have definitely had some tough games, but the girls are always ready to play.”
Another captain, Anna Gragas, gave King Kekaulike the lead in the 10th minute by tapping in a pretty cross pass from Kayela Santiago on a breakaway. Tiare Matsuura made the score 2-0 in the 15th minute as she popped the ball over Seabury goalkeeper Gabby Ratte, Giebink scored in the 19th minute and Brianna Perry headed in a cross from Giebink in the 53rd.
The result officially eliminated three-time defending league champion Baldwin from state tournament contention.
King Kekaulike holds the head-to-head tiebreaker against Maui High.
“We needed those three points, yes,” said Na Alii coach Gundi Dancil. “We told the ladies that now we are playing a numbers game, so we need the three points.”
Dancil said that with their regular practice schedule, Na Alii were able to get over the loss to the Bears quickly.
“We practice on Saturdays early, 7 a.m., so we were right back out there,” Dancil said. “They made the decision, the captains came out and asked if they could stretch inside. We told them, ‘Go ahead.’ We as coaches from the outside could hear them and they were upbeat.”
Seabury Hall (3-10-1) clinched the MIL D-II crown and state berth with a 2-0 win over St. Anthony on Saturday, and at halftime on Monday, coach Sumner Erdman had players draw positions out of his hat. Sophia Cella, regularly a midfielder, dropped into goal and stopped a penalty kick by Kenya Sherman in the 49th minute.
“A 4-0 result against King Kekau-like is reasonable and in the second half we lightened it up,” Erdman said. “A match like this does help us be ready for state. We have had a run – we had two games in Hana last week, we played the Wednesday before we went to Hana, we played Saturday and then came back today. We have had a few injuries and we are short a few kids.
“King Kekaulike is a great program, so it always helps to play them.”
Erdman is hoping “two, maybe three” of the five starters whose regular seasons were ended by injuries may be back for the state tournament.
“I think we will be ready,” Erdman said. “We will take tomorrow off and then go for five straight good, hard days and then we will be tourney ready.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org