MIL Boys’ Best on Oahu for State Soccer Tourney
By Rodney S. Yap
The Maui Interscholastic League is sending two quality boys soccer teams to the 2014 Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Division I State Championships on Oahu.
Baldwin, the league champion, was awarded the No. 2 seeding from tournament officials Sunday, and will open quarterfinal play Thursday, Feb. 12, at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex.
“I was a little shocked that we wound up getting it,” said Baldwin head coach Kane Palazzotto about the seeding.
The Bears (10-0-2) will play the winner of Wednesday’s match between Hilo and Kapolei at 3 p.m. Thursday.
“I don’t know too much about Hilo. I know a little bit about Kapolei, they are a fast team and they have a former Iolani guy coaching them. They beat Kamehameha Maui 2-1 in the preseason.
“I know they would be a pretty tough opponent should they get past Hilo. I know from past tournaments that the Big Island kids are generally more physical, so I’m expecting Hilo to be very physical.”
MIL runner-up Kamehameha Maui (9-0-3) faces Mililani today, with the winner advancing to a quarterfinal match against fourth-seeded Kealakehe. The Warriors from Maui placed third in the state last year.
Top-seeded Iolani and third-seeded Kaiser also have byes today as champions in their respective leagues.
Seabury Hall was seeded third in the Division II state tournament, and will open with a quarterfinal match against Mid-Pacific on Thursday. The winner of that meeting will play second-seeded Hawaii Prep or Leilehua on Friday, Feb. 13, for a berth in the title match.
Kapaa is the Division II top-seeded team and defending champion, while Roosevelt is seeded fourth.
Palazzotto said playing in a tough league and having a difficult preseason schedule helped the Bears earned the No. 2 seed and set the table for their unbeaten regular season.
“I think some of it has to do with Kamehameha Maui making the semifinals last year and knowing they did not lose a lot of players. I thought we played a pretty good preseason schedule and only loss two games and one was in a shootout and the other was to Kamehameha Maui.”