Maui United wins state U13 soccer title
By Fred Guzman
During a weekend when many titles were contended for at the local high school level on the Valley Isle, a group of future prep standouts made their mark on Oahu as Maui United Soccer Club 96 captured the state under-13 boys soccer title in dramatic fashion.
Maui United opened with a pair of comfortable wins on Saturday, defeating Honolulu Bulls Kaele 4-0 and Ka Oi 8-0.
The challenge grew tougher on Sunday, and MUSC responded by defeating long-time nemesis and defending champion Honolulu Bulls Kaula 2-0 in Sundayâ€™s early game on goals by Blake Hooser and a penalty kick by Jaren Otani.
As a result of the point system used in the event, Maui United needed a tie against Real Rush to capture the title and earn a berth in the Far West Regional Tournament in Lancaster, Calif., on June 15-21.
Things didnâ€™t start well for United in the afternoon game.Â It gave up a sloppy goal in the first minute of play and Real Rush, playing its first game of the day, increased the lead to 2-0 by halftime.
But United turned things around after intermission as Mitchell Marrs tapped a ball from close range on Otaniâ€™s corner kick two minutes into the second half.Â Â Otani then struck a 24-yard free kick into the upper right corner to tie the score at 2-2 in the 55th minute, giving MUSC the result it needed to secure the title and regional berth.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am one of the founders of Maui United, serve as vice president of the clubâ€™s board and am involved as a senior coach with MUSC.Â Hereâ€™s what I told the Maui News in the aftermath of the championship run.
â€œThis was the culmination of a four-year process for this group of kids. Each year we closed the gap against the top teams on Oahu and, finally, the hard work, determination and continued development of this group paid off.Â Coming back from a 2-0 deficit against a rested quality team is quite an accomplishment.Â And, actually, we had a very nice goal called back that would have given them a deserved victory.â€
Other members of the championship team were: Nash Wuthrich, Matthew Foronda, Coran Yamamoto, Lily Higashino, Matthew Vanni, Logan Whitney, Juaquin Navarro-Bonilla, Daniel Quenga, Isai Barboza, Austin Gibson, Rhys Lendio, Ricky Casco, Nicholas Lawrence and Kahele Aroyan.
The under-13 boys are coached by Ted Eck, Matt Snyder, Alex Gonzalez and Guzman.
The MUSC under-15 boys finished second in their age group, winning three matches and suffering a 2-0 loss to eventual champion Real Rush.
The defending state champion MUSC under-15 girls missed qualifying for the finals despite not losing a game.Â The team opened with a 2-1 win over the Bulls and then tied eventual champion Ka Oi 1-1, with Ka Oi advancing by a single standings point.
Also entered in the event were Maui Unitedâ€™s under-12 boys and under-12 girls, as well as Manuiaâ€™s under-14 girls.