Fight to the finish
MIL Division I frontrunners King Kekaulike, Baldwin play to 1-1 draw
PUKALANI — The Baldwin and King Kekaulike high school boys soccer teams tied 1-1 on a chilly Upcountry night on Tuesday.
The result left Na Alii atop the Maui Interscholastic League Division I standings, but it’s the Bears who control their destiny for the title.
Angelo Deloso-Flocco broke free in the 56th minute on the left side of the King Kekaulike penalty box and fired a 12-yard rocket past goalkeeper Cody McDonald to give Baldwin a 1-0 lead.
“This one was big, but I wish it could have been 1-0 (final),” said Deloso-Flocco, a junior striker who returned from a three-year stint at the Los Angeles Galaxy Academy in 2015. “We have to take care of Lahainaluna on Thursday.”
The Bears (7-0-3) are one point behind Na Alii (8-2-1) thanks to a laser-beam shot that Jerycho Medeiros buried from 25 yards out in the 74th minute.
Baldwin has Lahainaluna (6-2-2) and Seabury Hall (2-6-1) left on its slate, while King Kekaulike finishes with St. Anthony (0-10-0).
Cade Taniguchi made a nifty through pass to Medeiros, who scored the first goal Baldwin has given up in MIL play.
“It was really good,” Medeiros said. “It’s not a done deal yet. We have to finish out, win our last game and hope for the best.”
That means Na Alii will be rooting for Lahainaluna on Thursday at Sue Cooley Stadium — the third-place Lunas still have an outside shot at one of the MIL’s two state tournament berths.
“A tie is better for them,” King Kekaulike co-head coach Barry McKay said. “A win would have put us MIL (champs), nobody could have touched us. But, yeah, we’re sitting in second place. Really proud of the boys the way they played tonight. We battled back and forth, but you get Angelo inside the box, always dangerous.”
Deloso-Flocco and Jacob Hogan both sent shots just wide left in the next five minutes after the initial goal as the Bears continued to pressure Na Alii’s defense.
Zakariya Woolley got his head on a corner kick in the 43rd minute, but Baldwin goalkeeper Dante Perez-Martin made the save.
Perez-Martin came out of the penalty box to kick away a breakaway chance for Na Alii in the 53rd minute.
One minute later, King Kekaulike defender Ty Miller made a save by getting his chest in front of a point-blank shot by Baldwin’s Jayden Kozaki.
Na Alii had a flash in the 28th minute where a long throw-in from Dylan Gomes and a rocket shot over the crossbar by Medeiros created two dangerous chances.
Another throw-in from Gomes from the makai side of the field in the 39th minute was mishandled by Bears defenders directly in front of the goal, but no Na Alii player could get a boot on it.
Baldwin coach Kaniela Palazzotto said the tie hurts.
“It’s disappointing,” he said. “The first goal we’ve given up all year. I’m glad it happened now. It came off a little bit of a mistake, wet night tonight, two center backs slipped and the ball just went to the wide open guy and he buried it.”
Deloso-Flocco drew praise from his coach.
“The boy is special,” Palazzotto said. “He’s very creative in the box and you see the goal, the ball is rolling to another teammate and he’s just smart enough to say, ‘Let it go, let it go.’ He just finds ways to get in. He buried that left foot — he’s the man.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
– W L T Pts
King Kekaulike 8 2 1 25
Baldwin 7 0 3 24
Lahainaluna 6 2 2 20
Kamehameha Maui 5 3 2 17
Maui High 2 7 1 7
– W L T Pts
x-Seabury Hall 2 6 1 7
St. Anthony 0 10 0 0
x-clinched league championship
Baldwin 1, King Kekaulike 1, tie
Kamehameha Maui at Seabury Hall, 4 p.m.
St. Anthony vs. Maui High at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.
Baldwin at Lahainaluna, 7 p.m.
St. Anthony at King Kekaulike, 7 p.m.
Lahainaluna at Seabury Hall, 4 p.m.
Kamehameha Maui at Maui High, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 31
Baldwin at Seabury Hall, 4 p.m.
End of regular season