Waipahu Girls Soc­cer Team Ex­cels In The Class­room, Too

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

As in past years, de­fense is the Waipahu girls soc­cer team’s forte. When the Ma­raud­ers host Leile­hua at 5:30 p.m. Satur­day in an OIA West game, head coach Elaina Pare­des is hop­ing her team’s best of­fense is their de­fense.

“Def­i­nitely our team de­fense will be im­por­tant,” she said. “They (Leile­hua) are pretty con­sis­tent year af­ter year. From the striker line all the way down to our goal­keeper, we’ll need to be good de­fen­sively.”

The Ma­raud­ers were still look­ing for their first league win late last week, hav­ing dropped a pair of hard­fought en­coun­ters to Wa­ianae and Rad­ford in week one of OIA West play. Waipahu’s de­fense and its vet­eran lead­er­ship have car­ried the ac­tion to date as they look for more of­fen­sive pro­duc­tion.

Only two years ago, the Ma­raud­ers cap­tured the OIA Di­vi­sion II ti­tle en route to a state tour­na­ment ap­pear­ance. Three holdovers from that sea­son are back in the fold in se­niors Kate­lyn Onaga, Caitlin Es­tanique and Kayla Obrero.

Onaga is a sweeper, while Es­tanique and Obrero are mid-field­ers. “I’d say Kate­lyn’s strength is her tough­ness,” Pare­des said. “Al­though she’s tiny in stature, she never gives up. She has great skills, but more im­por­tant is her level-head­ed­ness. She keeps the team grounded. She’s that voice of rea­son.

“Caitlin is a four-year starter who is very skill­ful and very tough. She takes the most beat­ing in games, but she never lets down. I’m proud of her for that. Kayla has de­cent skills, but most im­por­tant is her men­tal­ity and her leader- ship. She brings that chem­istry. She brings all the girls to­gether.”

Ju­nior de­fender Erika Ebia also is a team cap­tain and helps an­chor ef­forts in the back. “She’s a great de­fender — she has skills and a very strong leg,” Pare­des said. “On our set plays, she’s the one (who’s fea­tured and) who takes them. She’s also very vo­cal on the field, which helps us as well.”

Pare­des also cited her team’s depth through­out its 20-mem­ber ros­ter as one of its strengths. “We’re pretty con­sis­tent. There’s not much dif­fer­ence be­tween our first and sec­ond group, so when we have to sub­sti­tute, we are able to keep up the same level of play.”

Off the field, dili­gence in the class­room has boosted the pro­gram, ac­cord­ing to the coach. “Aca­dem­i­cally, the girls have been get­ting re­ally great grades. Our goal was to have the best grade-point av­er­age of any team in the school, and we have some real schol­ars on this team.”

Fol­low­ing the Leile­hua game, Waipahu will have a week off to pre­pare for a much-an­tic­i­pated road trip Dec. 27 to Mililani. The re­main­ing home slate in­cludes Nanakuli Jan. 3, Kapolei Jan. 10 and Camp­bell Jan. 14.

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