Bears keep alive state hopes, tie with Na Alii
WAILUKU — It came in the final minute of an eventual scoreless tie, but it was huge for the slim state tournament hopes of the Baldwin High School girls soccer team.
Bears goalkeeper Malie Kuia stoned a wide-open shot by King Kekaulike’s Lyti Akinaka, who had found a through pass in front of every player on the field with the exception of Kuia.
“My thoughts were, like: ‘We needed to win this game and we need to advance to the playoffs,’ “ Kuia said as her teammates warmed down on the turf at War Memorial Stadium following Baldwin’s 0-0 draw with Na Alii on Saturday night. “I was just ready to save that ball to help my team out as much as possible.”
Akinaka, a senior headed to Brigham Young University to continue her career in the fall, could have kept her team on top of the Maui Interscholastic League standings. Instead, Na Alii (6-1-1) fell into a tie with Kamehameha Maui.
“I knew it was like the last minute, last seconds, and I had to get to the ball first,” Akinaka said. “But unfortunately that’s such a good keeper that she was able to save it. I was trying to place it, but she’s really tall. She was able to get it.”
The Warriors and Na Alii finish against each other in their regular-season finales next Saturday at Kanaiaupuni Stadium.
“That’s going to be a lot of pressure,” Akinaka said. “They’re our neighbors, right next door, so it’s going to be a lot of fun. Hopefully we can pull through.”
King Kekaulike coach Gundi Dancil said of the tie: “We can live with it.”
He knew the three-time defending MIL champions would come out firing.
“Anytime we play at Baldwin, you know, three-time MIL champs, they are going to come and play,” Dancil said. “They are not going to give it to us and go: ‘Here it is.’ They are going to play us.”
Baldwin (4-1-3) is three points behind King Kekaulike and Kamehameha Maui with two matches to go for all three. The Bears face Kamehameha Maui on Tuesday in a make-up of a match rained out earlier in the season.
“We needed to win,” Baldwin coach Dave Mena said. “Happy with the way they fought, happy with their progression, very good. Malie kept us in the ballgame. Thank goodness.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
W L T Pts
Kamehameha Maui 6 1 1 19
King Kekaulike 6 1 1 19
Baldwin 4 1 3 15
Maui High 4 4 0 12
Lahainaluna 0 8 0 0
W L T Pts
Seabury Hall 1 6 1 4
Kamehameha Maui 1, Maui High 0
King Kekaulike 0, Baldwin 0, tie
Baldwin at Kamehameha Maui, 6 p.m.
Maui High at Seabury Hall, 4 p.m.
King Kekaulike vs. Lahainaluna at War Memorial Stadium, 7 p.m.