Sabers Are Young But ‘Get­ting Bet­ter’

MidWeek Islander (West Oahu) - - West Oahu Sports - By JACK DANILEWICZ

A year ago at this time, the Camp­bell boys soc­cer team was per­haps a sea­son away from con­tention in the OIA West, as its ros­ter was dom­i­nated by a ta­lented group of un­der­class­men.

A spir­ited run through the OIA play­offs fol­lowed, high­lighted by an up­set win over even­tual Di­vi­sion I state cham­pion Kalani.

Not sur­pris­ingly, head coach Randy White is hop­ing to con­tinue the up­ward climb this time around.

“We’re very ex­cited about this year, and we only lost three se­niors,” said White, who led Camp­bell to its first boys state tour­na­ment ap­pear­ance in 11 years last sea­son. “We got to a place last year that we didn’t ex­pect to get to. There’s more pres­sure now to main­tain that level. We’re still young and still a work in progress, but I can say we’re get­ting bet­ter.”

The Sabers had a busy pre­sea­son, play­ing eight games. “We don’t put much stock into wins and losses in pre­sea­son,” he said. “We tried to eval­u­ate and play every­body.”

Camp­bell was to open its 2013-14 sea­son Tues­day against Leile­hua, and it hosts Rad­ford at 7:10 p.m. Fri­day. “We’re hop­ing our kids won’t be in­tim­i­dated by their size,” White said. “They usu­ally have good size and good ath­letes there. We’re not usu­ally that big.”

Camp­bell will, how­ever, fea­ture one of its more skilled teams in re­cent years, led by se­nior cap­tain Richard Or­pilla, who will play mid-fielder. “He’s our big mo­ti­va­tor and leader of the team.”

Also back in the fold are a pair of the league’s top de­fen­sive play­ers in sopho­mores Keenan Soares and Chay Mattos. Both are fixtures with Rush Soc­cer Club. Mattos was a Sec­ond Team All-League se­lec­tion as a fresh­man last year, while Soares was named a West Hon­or­able Men­tion. He re­cently suf­fered a lower body in­jury, but is ex­pected to re­turn in the com­ing weeks.

“Our back­line with Chay and Keenan will be our strength with their tough­ness,” said White, who also added the ser­vices of highly re­garded Rush coach Stan Fuller to the Camp­bell staff in the off-sea­son. “We’re go­ing to fo­cus on our de­fense. De­fense is what helped us in our win over Kalani last year. We have the vet­eran back­line and more skilled mid­field­ers this year. What we’re lack­ing right now are scor­ers.”

White also has high hopes for sopho­more mid­fielder Bryson Max­imo, who made an im­me­di­ate im­pact last win­ter in his fresh­man sea­son, as well as new­com­ers Ja­cob Cur­ran and David Tup­per. All three com­pete with Rush Soc­cer Club dur­ing the prep off-sea­son.

Tup­per in­jured his wrist in a re­cent pre­sea­son game, but is ex­pected to re­turn to ac­tion soon, ac­cord­ing to White.

Camp­bell has home games against Wa­ialua Dec. 20, Mililani Jan. 3, Pearl City Jan. 10 and Wa­ianae Jan. 20.

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