MIL Girls: Bears Preserve 3-2 Victory Over King Kekaulike
By Rodney S. Yap
Mother Nature was less than hospitable Friday night, sending the host team scrambling after its guests hung their hats on three goals less than 30 minutes into the festivities.
Like the spurts of rain and the gusts of wind, the Baldwin High School girls soccer team made its presence felt early and often at King Kekaulike, only to see the home team storm back with two goals of its own in a span of seven minutes.
Baldwin secured a 3-2 victory over King Kekaulike, by preserving a one-goal lead from the first half and surviving a fierce comeback attempt by the Upcountry girls in the second half.
The Bears improved to 2-0 in the Maui interscholastic League girls Division I standings, while Na Alii fell to 2-1.
“Up 3-0, I never thought that was a safe lead and they came back and scored two quick goals right before the half,” said Baldwin girls coach Tia Medeiros said. “We almost got a couple of goals in that second half and we needed one more, but we ended up holding them, which was something we had to do with this rain and going up against the wind. We were on our toes that whole second half.”
“We knew this was going to be a hard match,” King Kekaulike head coach Gundi Dancil said. “And what we were most proud of was the way the girls didn’t give up. When Baldwin scored those early goals to go up 3-0, we thought the girls would rollover. We were amazed that they dug deep and came back with two goals and maintained that momentum in the second half.”
Baldwin goal keeper Maile Kuia was stellar down the stretch, denying King Kekaulike four shots on goal, starting with a diving save at the 45th minute and finishing in the 72nd minute when she caught a long-range shot attempt that cleared a four-player wall set up by her teammates.
“We had a few good chances in the end but their goalie made good stops,” Dancil said of Kuia. “I thought our defense played well in the second half because they were really pushing and they wanted another goal.”
Baldwin’s first goal came in the ninth minute off the foot of Angelle Ferge.
The Bears made it 2-0 in the 24th minute when Skylar Littlefield put a corner kick on the head of her charging teammate Kacy-Lyn Navarro, who leaped high in the air to make contact with the ball.
“We’ve been working on that,” said Medeiros of Navarro’s rare header. “We’ve been working on crossing and winning the ball in the air.”
Navarro said before this season she was sacred to header the ball.
“I don’t know why but this year I just felt like using my head.
“During the preseason I had a couple of header goals and it was really nice and it came off of crosses and it was always Skylar’s ball — its like the perfect ball. And tonight it was perfect. We judged the wind and I kind of ran in and then I adjusted myself and backed up until I kind of found my spot.
“They (Na Alii defenders) kind of left me alone, I don’t think they thought I was going to get it and that’s when I got it. When it angled toward the corner I didn’t think it was going to go in. But it hit the pole hard, like it was a shot, so I thought it was going to bounce back out.”
But it ricocheted back into the net.
Littlefield added the Bears final goal three minutes later on a penalty kick.
King Kekaulike finally got on the scoreboard in the 33rd minute on a goal by Lytl Akinaka. Then four minutes later Na Allii trimmed the deficit to one on a goal by Darian Fernandez, who managed to steer the ball past Kuia, but only after chasing down a free kick by teammate Makena Robinson.
Medeiros substituted several times down the stretch to try and get fresh legs into the game. But her big move came at sweeper.
“Our sweeper needed a break because her knee was bother her, so we put Kainoa Dafun in the back. She’s one of those players that I can put anywhere — forward, outside halfback, midfield, fullback, sweeper — and she held it down back there.
“King Kekaulike is always tough and you can never count them out.”