Sabers win playoff for state berth
PUKALANI – Maui High School girls soccer coach Tony Medeiros drew up a new play Friday called the “open gate” and his team worked on it for 15 minutes.
On Saturday, the Sabers pulled it off when it really mattered.
Tiana Lucas scored on an indirect free kick from about 25 yards out in double overtime as Maui High beat Baldwin 1-0 in a Maui Interscholastic League Division I second-place playoff game Saturday at King Kekaulike Stadium.
“I saw the goalie was switching more to the back post, so I just tried to curve it in,” said Lucas, who fought through an injured right leg.
The Sabers (10-3-0) and league champion Kamehameha Maui will represent the MIL in the state tournament.
“We don’t just want to get there, we want to compete,” Medeiros said.
On the winning play, Maui High put three players in front of the ball to shield the defense, Mary Lyn Johannes crossed over the ball from right to left and Michelle Gima touched it to Lucas’ right foot. Lucas’ rocket in the 97th minute went into the net’s top left corner.
The play was prompted after the Bears (9-4-0) were called for a high kick.
“Knowing that we had a slight breeze in our favor, if Tiana hits this ball well it could be a chance to score,” Medeiros said. “As soon as I saw the foul, I was yelling, ‘Set up the play, set up the play.’ “
Maui High last went to the state tournament in 1996 – Sabers assistant coach Leilani Abafo played for Medeiros on that team. Abafo has decided not to return next season.
“I did this personally for my assistant coach, coach Leilani Abafo,” Lucas said. “She’s been like a mother to me and this is her last year and we wanted to go out winning and go to states.”
After Lucas’ goal, Baldwin had a couple of chances to get the equalizer. Brianne Cremer sent a shot over the post from in close and Kacy-lyn Navarro was just wide left after receiving a pass in the penalty box.
“We couldn’t get that goal. We had chances, but we just couldn’t put it away,” said Baldwin coach Tia Medeiros, no relation to her Maui High counterpart.
* Kyle Sakamoto is at email@example.com