Woolley lifts Na Alii to victory over Chargers
WAILUKU — The last two times the King Kekaulike High School boys soccer team was in The Queen’s Medical Center State Championships — in 2013 and last year — Na Alii was eliminated in double overtime by Pearl City.
The Chargers were back to face Na Alii, the Maui Interscholastic League runners-up, on Monday at War Memorial Stadium. This time, the Valley Isle side triumphed, 2-1.
The victory sends King Kekaulike (8-0-3) to a quarterfinal matchup against No. 2-seeded Kalani in the quarterfinals at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex on Oahu on Thursday. Pearl City’s season is over.
“It feels nice,” King Kekaulike senior defender Zakariya Woolley said. “Finally, three years of heartbreak and finally we’re able to make it to the final eight.”
Na Alii bounded out to a 2-0 lead on the goals by Woolley. He scored in the 12th minute on a penalty kick and then added the second goal on a header off a throw-in from Dylan Gomes in the 16th minute.
The penalty setting up the first goal came after a throw-in by Gomes as well.
“Loose ball, it went into the corner,” Woolley said. “Their guy was trying to clear, I poked it loose and then his momentum went through me.”
Gomes’ throw-ins were a weapon all match long.
“It’s basically another corner (kick) for us,” Woolley said. “We work on it a lot and we’ve got it down pretty well.”
Pearl City drew within one on a goal from Zeth Bolosan in the 24th minute and then had several chances at the equalizer in the first half. Perhaps the best of those came when Kainoa Wong’s open shot from about 10 yards went just wide left in the 37th minute.
King Kekaulike’s Jhoel Sarraude put a dangerous shot from the left side toward the upper-right corner of the net, but it was denied on an athletic fingertip save by Pearl City goalkeeper Richard Seaman in the 46th minute.
Na Alii had another stellar opportunity in the 52nd minute when Jerycho Medeiros’ header off a cross from Jericho Lara glanced wide off the left goalpost.
In the 62nd minute, Na Alii’s Cade Taniguchi crossed a ball into the box to Connor Prados, whose point-blank shot was blocked by a Chargers defender.
“Lots of shots on frame and the goalpost kind of saved a couple of them,” King Kekaulike co-head coach Barry McKay said. “The goalie was strong, too, he had some beautiful saves.”
Na Alii’s match against the Falcons is set for 3 p.m. Thursday, following the 1 p.m. quarterfinal between MIL champion Baldwin, the No. 4 seed, and Kapolei.
“It feels pretty good,” McKay said of Monday’s win. “These guys came in here and played their hearts out and got the victory.”
Pearl City coach Derek Kawano said the match in front of about 500 fans was hard fought by both sides.
“It is what it is at this point –all the teams are going to be good,” Kawano said. “We have got to play whoever we get and they played their game a little bit better and that’s the result. Hats off to King K, hopefully they do well in the tournament.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
The Queen’s Medical Center Boys Soccer State Championships
King Kekaulike 2, Pearl City 1
Mililani 3, Waiakea 1
Iolani 4, Moanalua 0
Kapolei 3, Kaiser 1
At Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex
No. 4 Baldwin vs. Kapolei, 1 p.m.
No. 2 Kalani vs. King Kekaulike, 3 p.m.
No. 3 Hawaii Prep vs. Iolani, 5 p.m.
No. 1 Punahou vs. Mililani, 7 p.m.
At Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex
Seabury Hall vs. Pac-Five, 3 p.m.
No. 1 Kamehameha Hawaii vs. Kalaheo, 3 p.m.
No. 2 Kapaa vs. Waipahu, 3 p.m.
No. 3 McKinley vs. Honokaa, 3 p.m.