Lady Mustangs: Ready, Willing And Able This Soccer Season
By JACK DANILEWICZ
The Kalaheo girls soccer team knows there’s strength in numbers. That plus depth could carry it to post-season play, according to longtime assistant coach Roy Take-kawa.
“One thing we’ve noticed is that the difference in drop-off from our best player throughout our lineup is closer this year,” said Take-kawa, who works alongside head coach Alan Heu.
The Lady Mustangs finished 4-9-1 in the OIA Red East last season and made the DII state tournament, where they were eliminated after dropping a pair of heart-breakers to Makua Lani (3-2) and Honokaa (1-0) in two overtimes and on penalty kicks.
A talented senior corps that includes Taylor Catobus, Jenn Chun, Mayumi Ishikawa, Mele Kahanu and Helena Stevenson is back to lead this time around. The first three all will see time at midfield, Chun having converted from strictly defense last winter.
“Jenn brings a lot of experience, and she’s a smart player who reads the game very well. Mayumi is along the same lines as Jenn – she’s smart. Taylor’s strength is that she’s an aggressive, physical player who gives us that gritty, blue-collar work ethic.”
Kahanu was an Honorable Mention All-Conference pick in the East last winter as a fullback/forward, while Stevenson also will play fullback. “We can play Mele anywhere – she’s really versatile. Helena is much-improved this season, and we hope to use her more.”
Takekawa also praised goalies Nikki Grimm and Tierra Bush, who both will play big roles. “That (goal-keeper) will be one of our strengths, and we’re strong in the mid-field – we just have to keep battling.”
Team unity, cohesiveness and a great work ethic are among Kalaheo’s strengths, according to the coach. “As a whole, they want to work hard, and we’re better than last year,” he added.
Kalaheo’s OIA East opener is Dec. 4 at Castle. The schedule also includes games with Kahuku Dec. 7 at home, Kailua Dec. 11 away, Kaiser Dec. 14 at home, Moanalua Dec. 18 at home, Roosevelt Dec. 21 at home, Kaimuki Dec. 28 at home, Kalani Jan. 8 away and McKinley Jan. 15 at home.