×

Na Alii blank Warriors, claim third consecutive MIL crown

Kamehameha Schools Maui goalkeeper Robynn Yoshida swats a ball between King Kekaulike’s Cheyana Costa-Neikter (19) and Jaycie-Ann Valoroso on a rebound while defending a corner kick during the first half of Na Alii’s 2-0 victory over the Warriors on Saturday night at King Kekaulike Stadium. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

PUKALANI — This was history for the King Kekaulike High School girls soccer team.

After peppering the goal for most of the game, Na Alii finally found the back of the net twice in the second half on Saturday night for a 2-0 win over Kamehameha Maui at King Kekaulike Stadium to clinch the Maui Interscholastic League title for a school-record third straight time.

Ui Kaaihue’s goal in the 54th minute off an assist from Leiala Aruda put Na Alii on top, and Zoe Rehrer’s clincher 15 minutes later off an assist by Jaycie-Ann Valoroso was the icing on top of a convincing title.

“We were doing very good and it was a team effort,” Kaaihue said of her goal. “We worked it up there together and I was the one to touch it in before it hit the net.”

That the win came over their cross-the-street Upcountry rival only seemed to make it more sweet. The first goal was crucial on this night — Kamehameha Maui would have won the MIL title with a victory.

King Kekaulike’s Zoe Rehrer heads a first-half pass.

“It was just relieving, like, uhh,” Kaaihue said. “We were just so happy and we finally settled down. It was like, ‘Now we can play our game.’ “

Na Alii (9-0-1) needed only a tie to clinch the MIL crown, but they wanted to put a win on their growing resume over the previously unbeaten Warriors (7-1-2).

Rehrer’s goal effectively slammed the door in front of a packed house on senior night for Na Alii.

“It felt so good, I mean we had been pushing for it,” Rehrer said. “We had so many opportunities and it just really helped us. It clinched our win. It was major.”

Na Alii were beaten 4-1 by Kaiser in the state quarterfinals in 2018 before advancing to the state final four last season, where they fell 6-0 to eventual champion Kamehameha Kapalama.

Na Alii’s Ui Kaaihue defends a pass attempt by Kamehameha Maui’s Brynn Rodrigues.

Zoe Asue, Zoe Bailey, Sarah Fusato and Sheylyn Ranis celebrated their senior night on Saturday. Reigning MIL Player of the Year Teani Arakawa is a junior for Na Alii, and both goal scorers from Saturday are sophomores.

“They were young two years ago,” coach Gundi Dancil said. “They matured to juniors and seniors. Those are the ones that are keeping us up there and bringing the young ones up to their level.”

Kamehameha Maui will also be in the state tournament, as the MIL runner-up. The Warriors will host a first-round state tournament match on Feb. 3.

“Hats off to Kamehameha, they weren’t going to give us an easy time and they pushed us to the limit,” Dancil said. “We did some adjustments at halftime and talked to the girls about being confident and the pressure we were putting on (Kamehameha Maui) they were putting also on themselves.

“They worked hard for this game. Now we’re going to have to start pushing harder.”

Warriors defender Kaena Kehano heads a Na Alii corner kick.

A huge moment came in the 20th minute.

King Kekaulike’s Madelyn Dougherty had a point-blank shot cleared off the line by Kamehameha Maui fullback Maile Kehano. KSM goalkeeper Robynn Yoshida was beaten on that play, but she was stellar all night long.

Eight minutes later, Yoshida came off the line and snuffed a dangerous chance by Dougherty. Yoshida punched away another good chance for Na Alii off a corner kick by Arakawa in the 38th minute.

After the first goal went in, the Warriors were forced to press for the equalizer.

“We had to start pushing numbers up because a tie was a loss for us, it didn’t mean anything to win the MIL,” Kamehameha Maui coach Jim Kaeo said. “It is what it is, brah. We had to push bodies, push numbers. A 1-0 loss, a 2-0 loss, a loss is a loss, but King K came hard. They played hard, aggressive.

“We hung in there as much as we could. We did whatever we could to try to change it up, but it was their game tonight. They played hard. Hats off to Uncle Gundi and King K — they wanted it more. We tried.”

The Warriors will be ready for the match they will host in an effort to advance to the final eight teams on Oahu, Feb. 6-8.

“Yeah, we will,” Kaeo said. “Playing King K brings everybody’s level up.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

Also Saturday

Maui High 5, Seabury Hall 0

Baldwin 7, Lahainaluna 1

Goal scorers reported–Baldwin: Tysja Kaanana 3 (Assists: Aaliyah Racadio-Hoohanohano 2, Keili Barry), Halia Kalehuawehe (Racadio-Hoohanohano), Malia Warner (PK), Mia Rivera (Barry).

*****

MIL Standings

GIRLS

DIVISION I

W L T Pts

x-King Kekaulike 9 0 1 28

y-Kamehameha Maui 7 1 2 23

Maui High 5 4 1 16

Baldwin 5 5 0 15

Lahainaluna 1 9 0 3

DIVISION II

W L T Pts

x-Seabury Hall 1 9 0 3

x-clinched MIL championship;

y-clinched state tournament berth

Saturday’s Results

Maui High 5, Seabury Hall 0

Baldwin 7, Lahainaluna 1

King Kekaulike 2, Kamehameha Maui 0

End of regular season

BOYS

DIVISION I

W L T Pts

King Kekaulike 6 1 1 19

Kamehameha Maui 5 1 2 17

Baldwin 5 2 1 16

Lahainaluna 3 4 0 9

Maui High 2 6 0 6

DIVISION II

W L T Pts

Seabury Hall 1 7 0 3

Saturday’s Results

Maui High 1, Seabury Hall 0

Baldwin 2, Lahainaluna 0

Kamehameha Maui 1, King Kekaulike 1, tie

Wednesday’s Games

Baldwin at Seabury Hall, 4 p.m.

Lahainaluna at King Kekaulike, 6 p.m.

Maui High at Kamehameha Maui, 6 p.m.