Hur­ri­canes Girls Soc­cer Plays Amid Im­prov­ing West Oahu Com­pe­ti­tion

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

Kapolei’s place in the high-rent dis­trict of Oahu girls soc­cer is se­cure, but as head coach Brian Beck looks around, he sees the com­pe­ti­tion strength­en­ing around him.

Much on Beck’s radar th­ese days is Camp­bell, which hap­pens to be Kapolei’s home- game op­po­nent on Fri­day.

“It used to be us and Mililani and Pearl City (as the top-tier teams) in the West, but now you have Camp­bell, Aiea and Wa­ianae, too,” said Beck. “Ev­ery­one is get­ting bet­ter. Pre­par­ing for Camp­bell this week is a lit­tle more spe­cial be­cause our girls know how much tal­ent they have now. They’re a pro­gram on the rise, so our girls are ex­cited to play them.”

Kapolei couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter start to its sea­son, as it rolled over Leile­hua, Rad­ford, Nanakuli and Wa­ialua, outscor­ing op­po­nents by an 18- 0 count in the process.

A much- an­tic­i­pated matchup with Mililani was to fol­low last Fri­day be­fore the Hur­ri­canes turn their at­ten­tion to the Camp­bell game at 5:30 p.m. Fri­day.

The Mililani game also marked the half­way point of Kapolei’s OIA West sea­son. On the heels of Fri­day’s game, they will play Pearl City Jan. 3, away; Wa­ianae Jan. 7, at home; Waipahu Jan. 10, away; and Aiea Jan. 14, away, be­fore the OIA post­sea­son tour­na­ment.

“Over the next three weeks, we’ll be get­ting into the heart of our sched­ule. We’ll def­i­nitely be play­ing the tougher games. The Mililani game will be im­por­tant be­cause a win against them could set us up for the rest of our (reg­u­lar) sea­son.”

Se­niors’ lead­er­ship has played no small role in Kapolei’s fast start, in Beck’s view. “It’s been real nice hav­ing an older team. We have 11 se­niors, and prac­tice runs smoother when you have play­ers who are more ma­ture. I’ve been a lit­tle hands- off with them, al­low­ing them to find their own cre­ativ­ity.”

The Hur­ri­canes also have thrived with the pace of their play. “We have a lot more team speed, and our pos­ses­sion game has been good,” Beck said. “We’ve moved the ball around quickly, and that’s cre­ated op­por­tu­ni­ties. We’re get­ting more shots off this year and amp­ing up our pro­duc­tion.”

New­comer Alyssa Yoshida has given a huge boost to date, hav­ing tal­lied seven goals in her first four games.

“To see her step­ping up as a fresh­man has re­ally been fan­tas­tic,” Beck said. “We’re in­ter­ested to see how she’ll play in the big games. She’s very calm and up to the chal­lenge.”

On a team stocked with in­di­vid­ual stand­outs, Beck had ex­tra praise for se­niors Alyssa Fre­itas, Kimi Owens and Arielle Stoy­anow.

“Alyssa plays ev­ery­where for us — she’s a four-year starter, and she’s the girl we call on usu­ally to mark up against the other team’s strong­est player. She fills those (tougher) roles.

“Kimi’s strength is def­i­nitely her lead­er­ship on and off of the field,” he added. “Her tena­cious­ness on de­fense is her strength. How Kimi plays is how the rest of the team plays. She’s su­per ag­gres­sive and never quits, and that spreads to the whole team.”

Stoy­anow is the vet­eran goal­keeper, hav­ing been a key piece in Kapolei’s 7-3-2 sea­son of a year ago.

“She’s just solid,” Beck said. “We never re­ally have to worry about her. Hav­ing some­one at that level al­lows us to play a lot more of­fen­sive-minded. Her lead­er­ship is great, and it comes from be­ing the only fe­male on the foot­ball team. She brings that over to the soc­cer team, and she’s also good tech­ni­cally.”

Like the Hur­ri­canes, Camp­bell also got the sea­son off to a riv­et­ing start, outscor­ing its first five op­po­nents 23-2, en route to wins over Aiea, Wa­ianae, Leile­hua, Rad­ford and Nanakuli. Three of the Sabers’ wins came on the road. Fri­day’s game marks the be­gin­ning of a key three- game stretch for Camp­bell, which has games with Mililani Jan. 3 and Pearl City Jan. 10.

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