Lahainaluna boys soccer team benefits from positive attitude
LAHAINA – With a 3-2 record in Maui Interscholastic League play, the Lahainaluna High School boys soccer team is off to its best start in years and, according to head coach Sam Aki, the hot kickoff to the 2015-2016 season can be attributed to the positive attitude of the student athletes in his charge.
“There’s been a marked improvement in the team’s attitude on the field and in the classroom,” said the veteran coach last week. “They are doing the extra work to gel as a team and have made great strides in their academic work, and this has led to intelligent play on the field. Also, in past years we’ve been limited by players on academic probation, but this season we’ve had few problems with that. And we’ve also had some graduated players get college opportunities through soccer.”
Coach Sam, who is assisted by Steve Pisacano, David Ramirez, Francisco Rodriguez and Robyn Rodriguez this year, added that a large percentage of Latin players will have a profound effect for the Lunas.
“With Latin boys making up 80 percent of the roster, their culture definitely has a big effect on our team. That influence brings more skill to our game because the game means so much to them – it is part of their culture,” he commented.
The Lunas will look for leadership from senior four-year players and team captains Drew Austin and Blaine Casil, senior captain Kamal Golaube, goal keeper and four-year returnee Jakob Opunui, senior Carlos Dominguez and junior three-year player and captain Erick Montiel.
Junior three-year returnees include Roberto Cardenas Santiago, Brandon Flores, Mauricio Flores, Hesed Garcia Beteran, Tahjan Kruck, Marcos Lopez, Kyle Schultz and Radon Sinenci.
Sophomore returnees on the roster are Fernando Cedillo, Adolfo Cruz Garcia, Jacob Gonzalez, Kamuela Lindsey, Bryan Murillo Solis and Gabriel Rodriguez. Freshmen Luna players include Bryan Gonzalez, Elias Gonzalez and Pablo Rico. The team managers are Karen Cardenas and Morgan Courtney.
Lahainaluna will now enter the teeth of the MIL Division I schedule with Baldwin and Kamehameha Schools Maui coming up this week and next, with regular season games through the end of February. The state playoffs will follow and will be played on Oahu.
“The boys are really staying positive as the season rolls on,” added Coach Sam. “Hopefully, we can play better on the road and rise to the occasion when we play on our opponents’ home turf. These boys play hard and they play intelligently. We really thank businesses like Old Lahaina Luau and people like Annie and James Hayes (West Maui AYSO directors), and all the coaches and supporters of the youth programs that develop the kids as they move up to the high school program. We always have good numbers because of their effort.”