Baldwin, HPA agree to share state title after lightning forces postponement in OT
WAIPAHU, Oahu — In a match that saw just about everything but goals, the state final between Baldwin High School and Hawaii Preparatory was called 4 1/2 minutes into the first overtime at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex on Saturday night because of lingering lightning in the area.
After several minutes of discussion between the team captains, coaches and officials from the Hawaii High School Athletic Association, the decision was made to call the teams co-champions after the scoreless duel. There was never a Neighbor Island D-I champion before Saturday night, but two teams left feeling the title was theirs with a lot of frustration that it was not definitive for either one.
“It’s tough, you know,” Baldwin coach Kaniela Palazzotto said, fighting back tears after informing his team of the decision — several Bears were in tears after being informed. “I don’t know what to say, just Mother Nature, I guess.
“It comes down to money, money, money. These (HPA) guys have to leave early and we didn’t think it would be fair to come back in four or five hours to play at 7 a.m., so tough, tough.”
HPA coach Rich Braithwaite said the match was a stellar battle.
“First of all just trying to figure out logistics, if it’s possible to make it happen, maybe tomorrow, maybe Monday,” Braithwaite said. “So the heartfelt part comes, if the teams — are they going to feel let down, are they going to be upset. I think what the captains and the coaches came to was that both teams had a tremendous season, a tremendous run in the playoffs. I think both teams played high-quality, possession soccer tonight.”
The first half saw reasonable chances for both teams.
Baldwin goalkeeper Elliot Tom made a great fingertip save in the ninth minute on a free kick by Jake Schneider from just outside the penalty box.
Bears midfielder Daniel Souza was banged up on a collision in the 21st minute — he left the match but returned to play before the end of the first half.
Baldwin’s Jayden Kozaki ran onto a long pass in the Ka Makani penalty box in the 28th minute, but his first touch was too long and the ball was easily handled by goalkeeper Stormer Horton.
HPA’s Toby Balaam had his low laser-beam shot blocked in front of Tom in the 32nd minute. Tom then stopped Kento Komatsu’s free kick from about 25 yards away in the 34th minute.
HPA’s Sihkea Jim and Baldwin’s Chris Barry banged heads in 39th minute going for the ball — both went down and required attention from athletic trainers. Both players returned to the match quickly, however.
Baldwin started the second half applying pressure to the HPA defense — the best early chance was a header sent wide right by Baldwin’s Hayden Hawes.
Ka Makani had a stellar chance in the 50th minute on a free kick from 30 yards out from the right side by Ilan Naibryf — the ball skidded through the Baldwin defense and Tom allowed a rebound from point-blank range by Jevor Flippin that was blocked by Bears’ defenders.
Angelo Deloso-Flocco broke free on the left side with the ball deep in the 57tgh minute, but his running chip shot went over the goalpost.
Schneider was shown a yellow card in the 61st minute for a hard foul on a Baldwin player.
Deloso-Flocco broke free again in the 64th minute and ran onto a pass from Kozaki — Horton came flying out of the goal to challenge Deloso-Flocco, the two collided just outside the penalty box and the Bears were awarded a free kick. Deloso-Flocco sent it into the Ka Makani wall of defenders.
Moments later Balaam’s header in traffic was stopped by Tom.
As the match wore on scoreless into the final 10 minutes, the physical play increased. Baldwin’s Chase Sumibcay and HPA’s Komatsu got tangled and some pushes ensued in the 70th minute in the HPA box. The pair shook hands minutes later.
Baldwin’s Jacob Hogin had to leave the field after a hard collision in the 72nd minute.
The Bears’ Darrian Cremer sent a dangerous shot past Horton but it harmlessly went across the goal mouth in the 76th minute.
Later in regulation, Souza’s free kick sailed over the goalpost.
Early into the OT period, Tom went down awkwardly after grabbing the ball in a crowd and had to leave the game.
*Robert Collias is at email@example.com
THE QUEEN’S MEDICAL CENTER BOYS SOCCER STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Saturday’s Results • At Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex
Iolani 1, Kapolei 0
Punahou 2, King Kekaulike 1
Baldwin 0, Hawaii Prep 0, OT
Kalaheo 3, Honokaa 1
Pac-Five 7, McKinley 0
Kamehameha Hawaii 3, Kapaa 2