Boys soccer team off to rough start
LAHAINA — The Lahainaluna High School boys soccer team made a strong run for that coveted Maui Interscholastic League championship — and the ticket to the state playoffs that goes with it — last season, but fell just short of the Division I title with a 6-4-2 record that left them in third place in the final standings.
Hopes thus ran high for the 2009-10 season that began in early December, despite the loss of several key players to graduation.
That optimism has been somewhat dashed as the Lunas have stumbled out of the blocks to start the current campaign. A very young team’s inexperience has shone through in the winless (0-4-2) start.
Injuries and academic ineligibility have limited the Lahainaluna team in the first half of the season that featured six home games at the Imu on the LHS campus.
Led by a coaching staff made up of Sam Aki, Steve Pisacano, Jeremy Delos Reyes and E. Valdez Vega, the Luna boys team lists but one senior letterman — co-captain Bryce Jacinto — on the 19-player roster, and six freshmen are on the squad.
Other returnees include co-captain Junior Valdez Vega, Elton Rivera, Solomon Alvarez, Kanaina Raymond, Victor Pacheco and Jose Esparza — all juniors — and sophomore standout Jorge Hernandez.
Rounding out the Lahainaluna roster are juniors Roger Guzman, Steven Adolphson, Brett Tillman and Reily Sinenci; sophomore Deason Allen; and freshmen Nestor Gomez-Perez, Noah Camara, Reece Sinenci, Erich Skrotski, Ryhs Lendio and Julian Bel-Robert.
Competing in the tough MIL D-I that includes powerhouses Baldwin, Kamehameha Maui, King Kekaulike and Maui High, the Lunas will be hard pressed to recover from their slow start.
“We’ve lost a lot of the seniors from last year’s team, but we hope to do better in the second half,” commented junior returnee and goal keeper Esparza last week.
“We just have a hard time finishing plays… we’re a really young team, and we lost some really good players due to grades.”
Nevertheless, the Lunas are grateful for the community support that has greeted them at the home games at Lahainaluna.
“We get some really nice support from the parents at all of the games, and they always have good food prepared for us after the games,” added halfback Tillman. “They’re always there to cheer us on.”