Tesoro’s Unselfish Play Helps Bears Beat Na Alii
By Rodney S. Yap
The decision to shoot or pass when both options are available, can severely impact a team should a player decide “me” is more important than “we.”
In soccer, split-second decisions are required of players all the time. Few, however, get to revisit their choices immediately after claiming victory.
Baldwin High School soccer player Tara Tesoro got to bask in her glory Saturday after her left-to-right cross pass was alertly re-directed into the goal by Sarah Nomura’s heady play.
The header by Nomura — gave the Bears a 3-2 advantage — came on an assist from Tesoro in the 78th minute of Baldwin’s epic battle against Upcountry rival Na Alii Saturday, Dec. 14, at Kekaulike Stadium.
Baldwin finished off a reeling Kekaulike team two minutes later, when Nomura slipped behind the defense and crossed it front of the goal to a finishing Ashley Souza.
With its 4-2 victory, Baldwin improved to 2-1-0 in the Maui Interscholastic League girls Division I schedule. King Kekaulike fell to (2-3-0).
“It totally seemed like she knew exactly what she wanted to do and she went ahead and did it,” said Baldwin head coach Tia Medeiros of Tesoro. “We need that from her all the time, every time, because it’s possible from her — she’s that good of a player.”
“It was supposed to be a shot,” said Tesoro. “But I saw our players coming in so I figured the better option for us as a team was to cross it. So I crossed the ball instead of being selfish.”
“And that was a really nice finish, too,” Medeiros said of Nomura’s ability to see the play to its finish. “Sarah was in the perfect spot and headed the ball down. That was a really, really nice finish and we need those five minutes from our girls at the very beginning.
“Even the last goal, too, Sarah’s slot play, where she took the ball down and crossed it. That was nice, too.”
Tesoro was over the moon with happiness after the two teams shook hands.
“It paid off to pass the ball instead of shooting it, and I’m really happy with the outcome,” Tesoro said.
King Kekaulike coach Gundi Dancil said his team couldn’t buy a break.
“We backed off of her (Tesoro) defensively,” Dancil said. “In the last five minutes I think we lost our (defensive) marks.”
Kekaulike dodged a bullet in the 73rd minute when defender Kenya Sherman retreated to the near post just in time to clear a shot by Souza with her head.
The game was tied 2-2 at halftime as Baldwin’s freshman forward Casey Lynn Navarro combined spurts of energy and ball skills to put away the first two goals in the 5th and 16th minutes, respectively. Teammate Brianne Cremer assisted on the second goal.
King Kekaulike answered with its best finishing option — senior captain forward Kayela Santiago — who scored in the 37th and 39th minutes.
“I thought King Kekaulike played a great game,” Tesoro added. “They played aggressive and they came out hard, they did exactly what we knew they could do. Kayela Santiago is an amazing player and they know that. They know that she’s their strength and she knows that she can finish shots and that’s exactly what she did at the end of the first half.”
“I like the way she plays,” Medeiros said of Santiago. “She’s very feisty. When she gets the ball up front her speed and her skills takes over, so you just can’t let the ball go to her, you have to prevent it.”
“We came out in the second half with a lot of energy,” Dancil said. “But we blew two opportunities early in the half and it was unfortunate that their second goal came with a questionable call.”
Dancil was referring to an offsides violation by Baldwin that was not called by the linesman on Navarro’s second goal.
Due to injuries, Medeiros has had to juggle her starting lineup. In turn, she has discovered a number of contributing underclassmen, mostly freshmen, like Navarro, Kaeana Anguay, and Piilani Chaves.
“We had a couple of our starters go down in the preseason, so we told the girls it was time to step up. And the freshmen are really stepping it up . . . and even Kiley (Inouye), our sweeper, she’s only a sophomore and she has never played sweeper before.
“She is showing us that sweeper might be her permanent position now. The younger players are capable. We are going to get a few break downs here and their, but the more experience they get the better they will be.”