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Lady Mustangs Training For Soccer ‘With Sense Of Urgency

Head girls soccer coach Alan Heu believes practice must be at game-pace for Kalaheo, so playing with a sense of urgency begins during training time.

“They say you’re supposed to mellow with age, but I must be going the other direction,” Heu joked. “You earn playing time on what you show the coaches on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. We call it training, not practice.

“A freshman can earn playing time and a starting position as well as a senior.

If you don’t impress us daily, you get to sit next to me.

“The game is an avenue to working with these kids. Life skills are what they need to enter adulthood, which is right around the corner.”

Heu’s current team is a balanced mix of under- and upperclassmen. Nine are new and 12 are returnees. He recently welcomed 17 freshmen, though only four will play varsity this season with the other 13 on JV.

Kalaheo is coming off an 8-6-2 season, including an appearance in the OIA Division II title game. It also earned a trip to the Division II state tournament last season, but will remain in DII this year. The OIA format instituted prior to last season still allows DI and DII teams to play each other.

Regardless of their division, Heu likes the talent of his team. “We’re excited about this team. We’re relatively young, but unlike in past years, a lot of the young kids play either AYSO or in clubs, so our expectations are a little higher than they have been, since they’ve played more soccer. The more you play, the better you get. We’re also beginning to get numbers (at the JV level).”

Heu is counting on veterans Mayumi Ishikawa and Kiana Bowman for leadership. Ishikawa is a junior midfielder/defender, while Bowman is a senior slated to play defense and midfield. (Both are younger sisters of last year’s Kalaheo captains, Monique Ishikawa and Sara McAllaster.)

“Mayumi is smart and physically strong. She’s also versatile. She’s always been a midfielder, but we’re looking at using her in our defensive schemes this year.

“Kiana came back last year. She’d been with us as a freshman before paddling for a year. She’s small in stature, but she plays real big. When we first saw her, she was one of the faster girls we’d seen here, and she hasn’t slowed since. She has pure athleticism.”

Heu also envisions big contributions from seniors Kiana Forsythe, Jhadyne Felipe and Jazmin Lugo. Forsythe is the team’s only four-year varsity player. “Kiana went to the AYSO national game in Tennessee, and she’s been doing a lot of preseason work to become a better player,” Heu noted. Felipe played for Kalaheo as a freshman before transferring to Kailua for a season. Lugo is returning from an injury that sidelined her all of last year.

As the Mustangs prepare for Saturday’s OIA opener at Kahuku, Heu is encouraged by play at the midfield position. “We definitely always try to stress a possession-type game, and we’re trying to play a game through the midfield and not over midfield, so our midfield has to be strong.”

The Mustangs next play Castle, Kaiser and Kailua.