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King Kekaulike remains undefeated with 3-0 victory over Kamehameha

Dylan Gomes of King Kekaulike High School controls the ball in front of Kamehameha Maui’s Dylan Nakagawa on Saturday. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

PUKALANI — The King Kekaulike High School boys soccer team reached the semifinals of the Division I state tournament last season only to see two leads dissolve in a loss to Hawaii Prep.

One day later, Baldwin and HPA shared the state crown, the first ever won by a Neighbor Island team while Na Alii lost the third-place match to Punahou.

King Kekaulike is on a mission to make sure that does not happen again. Na Alii rolled to a 3-0 win over Kamehameha Maui at Kanaiaupuni Stadium on Saturday night to improve to 3-0-0 in Maui Interscholastic League play.

The game-winner was a header by Franco Melgar Martich in the 29th minute off a long throw-in by Dylan Gomes.

“I headed it in with the back of my head — I was just thankful it went in,” Melgar Martich said. “I feel like the team, where it’s at right now, I feel like we’re really strong, really solid team overall. We’ve got a great group of guys.”

Kamehameha Maui defender Teva Pimentel heads the ball away from King Kekaulike’s Franco Melgar Martich during the first half Saturday. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

He said the loss to HPA is still on the collective minds of Na Alii.

“There’s a lot of motivation, our coaches always drill into us day in and day out, we’ve got to commit, man, we’ve all got to do our part,” he said. “And then we’ll get back to states again.”

Melgar Martich was a bit surprised the ball found the back of the net off the back of his head.

“I was a little bit flabbergasted on that goal,” he said. “I’m just truly happy that it went in. I didn’t think it had a chance, not at all. I just knew I had to get a touch on it or coaches would get mad at me.”

Jhoel Sarraude added the second goal off a scramble in front of net in the 53rd minute and Finn Bediamol added the third in the 75th minute.

Kamehameha goalkeeper Hezekiah Kapuaala made a spectacular diving save on Hunter Devlin in the 70th minute, and it could have been more lopsided if not for his heroics throughout the game.

King Kekaulike already owns a 4-2 win over Baldwin, but knows things will not get any easier as the season progresses in the competitive MIL.

“Definitely have to keep winning, it’s short into the season, I mean three games in,” King Kekaulike co-head coach Barry McKay said. “We’re definitely happy with the win. Kamehameha is always tough for us. We have things to work on, we definitely have things to work on.”

Kamehameha Maui, which has just four seniors on the roster, fell to 0-2-1.

“They come hard, they come very hard,” Kamehameha coach Jayson Nakasone said of King Kekaulike. “That was the difference, how much pressure they put on us, you know, forced some mistakes. Every day we try and build. It’s nice that we get to play against competitive teams, the whole year. That’s the only way, one by one, we have to get better.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

Also Saturday

Baldwin 6, Maui High 2

Lahainaluna 3, Seabury Hall 0

Goal scorers reported–Lahainaluna: Brazil Ruiz-Rockett, Jesus Alvarez, Kai Casco.