MIL’s Best on Oahu as State Girls Soccer Opens

February 5, 2014, 2:15 PM HST · Updated February 5, 3:21 PM
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Maui High's Tiare Lucas will help lead the Sabers today against Kapolei. Lucas is shown here in the first half against Baldwin from last week Saturday's game at King Kekaulike. Maui High beat Baldwin, 1-0, in double overtime to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 1996. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

Maui High’s Tiare Lucas will help lead the Sabers today against Kapolei. Lucas is shown here in the first half against Baldwin from last week Saturday’s game at King Kekaulike. Maui High beat Baldwin, 1-0, in double overtime to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 1996. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

By Rodney S. Yap

For the Maui High School girls soccer team and head coach Tony Medeiros, the 18-year hiatus of playing in the state tournament officials ends today at 3 p.m.

The Sabers open the 2014 Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Division I State Championships against Kapolei at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex on Oahu. Three other first-round games will be played at the same time on adjacent fields.

The winner of the Maui High vs. Kapolei match will face top-seeded Iolani, the defending champion, in the quarterfinal round Thursday, Feb. 6.

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Meanwhile, Kamehameha Schools Maui, the Maui Interscholastic League champion and No. 3 seed will play a quarterfinal match Thursday against the winner of today’s game between Kamehameha Kapalama and Castle.

Kamehameha Schools Maui girls soccer team is led by senior Lily Higashino and sophomore Quinn Williams (above), the MIL's leading goal scorer. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

Kamehameha Schools Maui girls soccer team is led by senior Lily Higashino and sophomore Quinn Williams (above), the MIL’s leading goal scorer. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

Kamehameha Maui, finished the season a perfect 12-0, and was tied for fifth at last year’s state tournament.

Pearl City received the No. 2 seed, and Konawaena is seeded fourth.

Seabury Hall, the MIL representative in the Division II tournament, meets Kamehameha Hawaii in a first-round match today, also at 3 p.m. The winner will play in the quarterfinals against No. 4 Kalaheo.

Three-time defending D-II champion Mid-Pacific Institute received the top seed. Hawaii Prep was seeded second and Kauai is No. 3.

HHSAA Division I Girls Soccer - Division I Schedule - Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA)“I’m OK with our seeding, it doesn’t matter to me,” said Kamehameha Maui head coach Steven Mau. “The physical, the skillfulness, we’ve got that, no doubt.”

Mau said in the past teams from the neighbor islands have come to the state tournament satisfied to have made it and in awe of traditional powers like Iolani, Punahou and Kamehameha Oahu.

HHSAA Division II Girls Soccer - Division II Schedule - Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSWhen a team has that attitude, Mau said: “You lost that battle right there already. It’s a learning thing and it comes with sport and it comes with life. Confidence and self-assurance is important, especially when you’re competing in a team sport. Because now you have to rely on people and you are going to need leaders.”

Talking from his cell phone earlier today at the Waipio soccer complex, Mau said he has prepared his team to play big this weekend on the biggest stage for prep soccer.

“I’ve told them, ‘Don’t be in awe of them, let them be in awe of us’. For us there is no doubting at this stage of the season. There is no room for that here, this is what we have prepared for all year long. For some of our girls this is the only sport they play, so it’s the only thing they are thinking about. You have to have your mind-set when you get here and not be intimidated. Most of our girls play club soccer and have played in big tournaments before against bigger teams.”

KS-Maui is led by arguably the best player in the MIL, senior midfielder Lily Higashino. She will have plenty of help, particularly on offense with sophomore striker Quinn Williams — the league’s  Division I scoring leader — and freshman Leialoha Medeiros, one of the best young female players on the Valley Isle.

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