Kamehameha Maui secures trip to state
PUKALANI – For Daniel Quenga of Kamehameha Schools Maui, a victory over Upcountry rival King Kekaulike meant more than a trip to the state tournament.
Going into Saturday, the senior had never been part of a win over Na Alii – but that all changed after he helped his team earn a 2-1 victory at King Kekaulike Stadium despite playing a man down the entire second half.
“I was really hyped because I’ve been playing them since my freshman year and during the regular season we’ve never beat them,” Quenga said. “It was the last game and I said we better win. I was stoked when we won.”
The Warriors (8-0-3) entered first place in the MIL Division I standings with one game left on their regular-season schedule. Kamehameha is one point in front of Baldwin, which has two games left and also secured one of the league’s two state berths with Saturday’s result.
The Warriors took the lead in the 44th minute when Quenga scored off a free-kick pass from teammate Micah Alo, who would score the game-winning goal in the 73rd off a pass from Chandler Alo.
“I’ve only scored a couple goals this season so I’m really glad one of them came in this game,” Quenga said.
Na Alii (7-3-1) got their goal in the 46th from Brock Aganos, who was assisted by Lionel Mills.
The Warriors were left short-handed following a red card in the 32nd minute after Colton Cabanas slid into Na Alii goalie Cameron Baker.
Micah Alo said the team practices that scenario often.
“We knew we had to win this game,” he said. “We just trained really hard and had the focus in mind.”
The Warriors had several chances early in the first half, including a potential goal by Chandler Alo in the 24th minute that was wiped out by an offside call.
Baker twice blocked shots in the 40th minute – he finished with six saves.
Micah Alo’s goal came on a chip over Baker’s head.
“This was just awesome,” said Kamehameha coach Kimo Correa. “I’m very proud of my boys. This is the Warriors I’ve been looking for; the Warriors are back.”
Na Alii tied for seventh at last year’s state tournament.
“We knew what we had to do to qualify for states,” said King Kekaulike coach Ryan Arakawa. “But both teams played awesome today and Kamehameha got the win so congratulations to them. Coach Kimo’s got them prepared and ready to go so I’m sure they’ll do well at states.”
* Chris Sugidono is at firstname.lastname@example.org