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Friday’s Games Figure Big Into OIA Soccer Playoff Race

The OIA boys soccer playoffs are drawing near, but there’s still much to be settled among West Oahu teams. With that in mind, MidWeek‘s West Oahu Islander previews key games, all set for 7 p.m. Friday.

Kapolei at Leilehua

With the OIA Red West season crown still in its sights, Kapolei has to win this one. Its lone loss (as of press time) was to Mililani, after all, so the Hurricanes need the Trojans to lose one of their final games in addition to winning the rest of their own games. Kapolei also has a huge game at home against Radford on Tuesday, the outcome of which should go a long way in determining playoff seedings from the West. It will have to avoid looking past Leilehua with the Radford game approaching.

Offensively, Kapolei had its breakout game with a recent season-high win over Waianae. Three players – Keo Ponce (7 scores), Marcelo Dadino (6) and Shandon Hopeau (5) – are among Division I’s scoring leaders.

Leilehua’s season has been marked by close encounters, as four of the Mules’ games were decided by one goal or less.

Radford at Pearl City

On paper, this matchup may be the game of the night.

The Rams are the surprise team in the Red West, having gone undefeated through their first six games. The outcome of this game as well as Radford’s road game at Kapolei next Tuesday will likely determine where the Rams ultimately are seeded for the OIA tournament. Radford also was to play still-unbeaten Mililani over the weekend in another key game, giving the Rams arguably the toughest three-game stretch of any to close out the season.

Pearl City is only a few plays away from a much better record, as the Chargers lost close games to Mililani 3-1 and Kapolei 1-0. A win here would be a huge boost for the Chargers as they head into the OIA playoffs.

Campbell at Aiea

With post-season berths still at stake in the West, this matchup is akin to a playoff game. Campbell, Aiea, Waianae and Leilehua are currently in a battle for the last two playoff berths from the OIA Red West, so a win here could be the one that sends either Aiea or Campbell over the top.

Losses to Mililani and Kapolei had cooled Campbell down after a 3-1 start, but the Sabers could still be a major factor in the tournament with a favorable seed, and they held a one-game lead over this Aiea team in the standings at press time. For their part, Na Ali’i have played better than their 2-4 record, as three of Aiea’s losses came by one goal. Aiea, which is led by Jae Won Huh (five goals), follows up this game with another important contest versus Pearl City on Monday.

Campbell hosts Waianae on Monday to end its regular season.

Waipahu at Waianae

As Waipahu is designated as Division II, the Marauders already have a berth in the OIA’s post-season waiting for them since all three White West teams (Waialua and Nanakuli included) make the DII tournament.

Conversely, Division I Waianae desperately needs a win here to bolster its playoff chances, since the Seariders are in a four-way battle with Leilehua, Campbell and Aiea over the last two berths for the Red tournament. Offensive production has been an issue for Waianae to date, as the Seariders have scored more than a single goal in only one game.

This is the last game of the regular season for Waipahu. On Monday, Waianae will complete its Red West slate with a road game against Campbell.

jackster.1969@yahoo.com

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