MIL Boys: Accuracy Prevails in Na Alii’s 2-0 win Over Bears
By Rodney S. Yap
By all accounts, the Baldwin High School boys soccer team is still finding itself.
Last night at King Kekaulike Stadium, the Bears found out there is little or no consolation in having 15 shots on goal if none go in the net.
Na Alii, on the other hand, were rewarded with a 2-0 victory Friday, netting two of their first three shot attempts in a critical early-season Maui Interscholastic League boys Division I match Upcountry.
A header by senior forward Ian Almeida in the 38th minute proved to be all the offense King Kekaulike would need on a night when gusting winds and occasional showers kept the fans brave enough to attend covered up through out the match.
“It was a shot from outside the 18 and the sun was in the goalie’s eyes so all he had to do was get a touch on it,” said King Kekaulike co-head coach Ryan Arakawa of Almeida’s goal. “He got a nip on a header and hit it to the back corner.”
Arakawa said sophomore Nicholas Stevenson was credited with an assist on the play.
King Kekaulike, now 2-0, added an insurance goal in the 62nd minute when Cade Taniguchi hit a volley to the far post.
Arakawa said it was nice to see Taniguchi rewarded for his hard work.
“He practices that shot a lot,” the coach noted.
“It was a good game. Baldwin came out firing and our team was ready to go. We knew it was going to be a tough game, especially early in the MIL season. I’m glad our boys played well today and we came out on top.”
Trailing 2-0, Baldwin’s offense pressed to get on the score, kicked and headed balls over the cross bar, wide left, wide right — shot after shot missed its mark.
“It’s always disappointing when you lose,” said Baldwin head coach Kane Palazzotto. “I think the fact is we just didn’t come prepared and that’s my fault because we have to be better prepared.”
Foul weather has kept the Bears from playing their usual preseason schedule, including the cancelation of the annual Baldwin Soccer Classic last month. Normally, Palazzotto said his team would have six to eight preseason matches under its belt.
Instead, the Bears are 1-1, earning a season-opening 8-0 win over St. Anthony last week.
“I think not playing any preseason games have really hurt us and we’re still trying to find ourselves and when you are trying to find yourself in a big game it’s really tough.”
Finding the goal was apparently the only thing tougher.
“I think we outplayed them,” Palazzotto said. “The two opportunities they had they finished and we had 15 shots and we didn’t finish one.”
Coming off a match against St. Anthony where the Bears scored eight goals, Palazzatto said: “We were expecting to score more goals. The opportunities were there to be in front of the net and finish and we just didn’t today.”
Considered the MIL favorite in the boys division, Palazzotto said none of that matters if you are not playing up to your potential.
“A lot of people are saying we are really talented this year, but if you don’t show up, you don’t win.”