U-13 Girls Soccer Team Hungry For Regional Championship

As Hawaii’s two-time defending state champion, the Rush 01 (under 13) girls soccer team has been in its share of close encounters while playing in-state.

Last week, it met some of its stiffest competition yet in Albuquerque, N.M., scene of the U.S. Youth Soccer Far West Regionals.

“It is way harder here — because these teams are from other states,” said Aislynn Crowder, 13, a Rush midfielder and Mililani resident. “Some of the teams have been really good.”

With three straight wins, Rush 01 won its pool and had positioned itself for a possible berth at next month’s national tournament in Germantown, Md., heading into last weekend.

Coached by former Mililani High player Brent Murakami, the team was awaiting a quarterfinal appearance Friday. The semifinals were to be played Saturday, with the finals Sunday. With a day off, the players went to the movies and shopped at a local mall.

Last week marked its second straight trip to the Western Regionals. Much of the team has been together since then. Crowder attributed Rush’s cohesiveness to its success so far this summer.

“Our teamwork (has made the difference),” said Crowder. “This is our second year in a row in regionals. I think we’re getting better this year. It is fun to travel and be with your teammates, I knew we would try our hardest here and do real well.”

Rush 01 had opened Far West Regional action with a 1-0 win over Real National (Colorado) June 16. The following day it was tied, 1-1, by Beach Black (California) before rebounding big in the last game of pool play to post a 4-0 win over New Mexico Rush.

In addition to Murakami, Rush 01 assistant coaches Justin Fajota and Malcolm Crowder are also from Mililani.