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West // West Oahu Sports

Hurricanes Aim To Avenge Last Year’s Girls Soccer Loss

The Kapolei girls soccer team officially began its OIA schedule this week, but in a sense, it actually began last February, according to head coach Brian Beck.

The Hurricanes made sure their 2-0 loss to Moanalua in the OIA DI title game was a source of motivation.

“They were so disappointed that there was a drive after that game – they knew they should have done so much better,” said Beck. “All through our conditioning and our preseason, they’ve been working so hard to avenge that loss.”

Even with their defeat in the OIA title game, the girls still enjoyed another solid season, going 11-4-1 overall en route to an appearance in the Division I state soccer tournament. (Kapolei was consolation champion at the tourney.)

Among the key returnees Beck is building around this winter are junior twin sisters Kai and Paige Mahuka, who will hold down spots as defender and forward, respectively. Both have been fixtures in the starting lineup since their freshman year and brought a string of 35 consecutive starts into Tuesday’s season opener with Leilehua.

“They’re our twin powerhouses,” Beck said. “They’re fantastic kids, and they’re competitive with each other in a fun way. At practice I always try to keep them on separate teams, and they’re surprised when I do put them together.

They challenge each other.

“And their mother (Char) is amazing. She keeps them on a tight leash about school and keeping up their grades and making sure that they are working hard all of the time. She does a great job with them.”

After playing in the back surrounded by upperclassmen the past two seasons, Kai finds herself as the anchor of the defense. She also was voted a co-captain by her teammates.

“When Kai sees a good player, she has the ability to adapt (their good qualities) into her own game,” Beck explained. “She learned a lot from the seniors last year – she looked up to them as older sisters – and now we’re building our defense around her, trying to get the three best players we can around her.

“Kai is more the analytical player of the two,” he added. “She wants to know why we lost.”

Conversely, Paige is “100 percent all heart.

“When we lost the OIA (championship game to Moanalua), Paige took the loss really, really, hard,” he said. “She came up to me and apologized to me after the gane. I wasn’t expecting that, but it showed a lot of her character. Her heart was so into the game.

“She’s been our go-to forward (in the past). We try to look for her whenever we get the ball to midfield. This year, we’re trying to develop her as a ‘complete’ forward. She’ll work hard until she drops.”

The bond the sisters share also can be found throughout the rest of the lineup, according to Beck.

“I’m excited every year, but this group has jelled faster than any group we’ve had before,” he said, “and we probably have more team speed than we’ve had at every position. The hardest thing has been tweaking our formations to see where our speed is best needed.”

On Friday, Kapolei will host Radford in its second OIA game. The Rams are coached in part by former Kapolei standout Sheri Tateyama, who is an assistant with the Rams.

“I was the JV coach at Kapolei when she was on the varsity,” Beck noted. “I’m excited for that game. It’s going to be real fun.”

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