Warriors fall to Falcons 2-1 in HHSAA quarterfinals

Jake+Mateaki+battles+a+Falcon+for+the+ball+during+the+HHSAA+state+quarterfinals+at+Kana%27iaupuni+Stadium+Saturday%2C+February+21.+The+Maui+Warriors+season+of+no+losses+came+to+an+end+when+Kalani+won+the+game.+2-1%2C+to+advance+to+the+semifinals.

Photo by Kainoa Deguilmo

Jake Mateaki battles a Falcon for the ball during the HHSAA state quarterfinals at Kana'iaupuni Stadium Saturday, February 21. The Maui Warriors season of no losses came to an end when Kalani won the game. 2-1, to advance to the semifinals.

PUKALANI–Under chilly skies and on Maui’s home turf, the Kalani Falcons beat the Warriors 2-1 on February 21 to advance to the semifinals of the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Boys Soccer state tournament. The Warriors ended their season and run at the state title at 7-1-2.

Kalani’s head coach Mike Ching was proud of his team.

“First of all, I want to congratulate Kamehameha, they are so good,” Ching said. “They put a lot of pressure on us, and we beat a quality team tonight. I’m extremely proud of my players, especially to come back from a 1-0 score.”

The game started out hopefully for the Warriors. Kamehameha’s Brennan Joaquin was the first to score, and goalkeeper Keola Paredes made three spectacular saves in a row, but Kalani took the game by scoring once in the first half and the other in the second.

“Number 7, Rudy Mclellan scored to tie it and number 2 Trevor Kakuda scored the point that won us the game,” Ching said.

Mclellan’s score came as the result of some hot action at the Warriors’ goal with nearly every member of both teams getting their feet on the ball. It ended with Paredes snatching the ball out of the air, but it was too late. Somewhere in all the scrimmaging, the ball had broken the plane of the goal, and the referees signaled a Kalani score with a blow of the whistle.

Coach Ching said the Falcons changed their tactics during the game to overcome the Warriors’ strengths and the brisk wind.

“We needed to expose them [Kamehameha], especially since they were faster than us in the back,” he said. “The wind definitely played a factor, so in the second half we tried to move our defense around.”

Trevor Kakuda, number 2, was the player who scored the winning point in the second half. The Falcons drove the ball from just over midfield, passing it off to Kakuda in the goal area to face Paredes almost unchallenged, and his well-placed shot went right in.

“We played a good game, and we just have our 120%,” he said. “I knew it was gonna be a tough game, so I was really nervous. The ball seemed to pop out right in front of me, so then I hit it, and I really thank my teammates.”

The Warriors played hard in the second half, taking many shots on goal, including a free kick, but could not get any in the net.

Coach Kyle Herendeen led the Warriors to a 7-1-2 record in his first season as head coach.

“I’m very proud of my boys tonight,” Coach Herendeen said. “They deserve better than this, and things just didn’t go our way tonight. But there’s nowhere I’d rather be than with this team.”

Coach Herendeen coached until the end as the boys struggled to contain their energy and feelings. Normally cool, like a smooth-running machine, the boys seemed to unravel under the intense competition. For the first time this year, they missed passes and kicks and generally got messy with their ball handling.

“I told them that the little things matter, and we have to do them right,” he said. “I told them to fight until the end and emotions ran really high tonight.”

The frustration of the Warriors was obvious in the second half, but when it was over, athletes and parents faced the reality of the results.

Despite the loss, Coach Herendeen saw signs of great things coming for next season.

“We have a lot of guys coming back, and we’re just gonna build off of this year,” he sad.