Three Windward Boys Soccer Teams Set For State Tourneys

For Kalaheo and Kahuku, no weekend has been more anticipated than this one, as both teams will begin play in the Division I state boys soccer tournament.

Pairings for the tourney were to be revealed after press time. First-round games will be Friday at Kapolei High and Kamehameha-Maui, with the semifinals and title games Feb. 27-28.

A look at their prospects is below. (Kailua will play in the DII state tournament Feb. 26-28 at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex. A capsule preview for the Surfriders also follows.)

Kalaheo Mustangs

Record: 8-3-2 (7-1-2 in regular season)

How they got here: OIA Red tournament recap — Beat Castle (1-0) in the quarterfinals, lost to Mililani (1-0 in two overtimes) in the semifinals, lost to Kapolei (5-1) in the third-place game.

Scouting the Mustangs — Kalaheo was just a couple of plays away from the title game, but dropped its semifinal to eventual champion Mililani on a deflected tally by the Trojans in the waning moments of the second overtime. If defense wins championship, then the Mustangs have a chance, given their stellar play on that side of the ball. The team has won four games via shutout to date, and only two opponents (Moanalua and Kapolei) were able to score more than two goals against the Mustangs.

Kahuku Red Raiders

Record: 10-4 (7-3 in regular season)

How they got here: OIA Red tournament recap — Beat Leilehua (4-0) in the first round, lost to Kapolei (3-2) in quarterfinals, beat Kaiser (4-2) in consolation semis, beat Moanalua (5-2) in the fifth-place game.

Scouting the Red Raiders — The team continued its upward mobility at the OIA tournament with an impressive 3-1 win that saw them secure the league’s fifth berth for this week’s state tournament. Ironically, Kahuku may have played best in the one game it lost, having led No. 2 West seed Kapolei up until the midway point of the second half before losing 3-2. Defense has been a strength so far, as the Red Raiders have posted six shutouts. Offensively, Gabriel Pinheiro-Alves is leading scorer with 13 goals. Kahuku is 9-0 this season when scoring at least two goals.

Kailua Surfriders

Record: 8-4 overall (6-4 in regular season)

How they got here: OIA White tournament recap — Beat Waialua 1-0 in semifinals, beat Waipahu 6-0 in the title game.

Scouting the Surfriders — Kailua was seen as the favorite to win the 2015 OIA White ever since it learned during the off-season that it would play in DII. Steve Dignam’s team lived up to those expectations and then some, routing Waipahu 6-0 in the title game. Can Kailua take the next step this week and bring home a DII state title? The team more than held its own in the season, defeating a pair of DI teams (Moanalua and Kahuku) and sweeping its DII counterparts. Senior forward Naia Graham will enter this week as the state’s leading scorer with 25 goals in nine games.