Waipahu Girls Soccer Team Says Goodbye To 14 Seniors

For the Waipahu girls soccer team’s departing seniors, last week’s appearance in the Division II state tournament was a perfect send-off for a group that has been key to head coach Elaina Paredes’ building of the program.

They went out having “no regrets,” according to Paredes. “Hopefully, they’ll continue to love the game as much as I do.”

Paredes was equally buoyed by the team’s future prospects, highlighted by freshman trio Karlee Manding, Alysha Somera and Jenna Ramirez.

“They’ve done a tremendous job of carrying the team at some points,” she said. “They rarely come out of a game. We depended on them a lot, and they’ve never complained.”

Waipahu finished third in OIA DII this year to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2011, when it took the OIA White title.

Waipahu dropped its first-round game 3-0 to KS-Hawaii at last week’s state tournament and was to meet Honokaa in a consolation semifinal late last Thursday.

The consolation final was set for Saturday at Waipio Soccer Complex. The arrival of players like Manding, Somera and Ramirez, who play year-round with soccer clubs, has been a big boost to the program, according to the coach.

“Throughout the last decade, I think we’ve gained some respect,” said Paredes, who just completed her 13th season with Waipahu after a four-year stint as coach at St. Andrew’s Priory. “It shows when kids start to stay in the community.”

Paredes noted that the new academic curricula at Waipahu, such as its early college program, have “helped us draw students.” Waipahu’s enrollment is currently around 2,500.

Waipahu, which was 4-6-2 at press time, will likely be in rebuilding mode next season with such a large senior class gone, but immediate help on the field to fill the void may be on the way.

“From what the kids have told me, some of their club teammates, who are a year younger than they are, will be coming to Waipahu next year.

“There’s a lot to look forward to. They (the OIA) evaluate every year, but we will probably stay in DII. In losing 14 seniors, that’s a lot of experience and leadership.” Paredes also expects the Marauders to pick up several players from their junior varsity team, which went 3-4-1 this winter.

“Having those two years of experience from the JV team really helps. We have five to seven players from the JV who seem pretty serious about playing (varsity) next year.”