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Luna boys soccer team fighting for MIL ticket to the state tournament

By Staff | Jan 26, 2017

With three games left to play, the Lahainaluna High School boys soccer team is chasing Maui Interscholastic League leaders Baldwin and King Kekaulike.

LAHAINA – Coming into the homestretch of the 2016-17 season, the Lahainaluna High School boys soccer team remains hot on the heels of Maui Interscholastic League leaders Baldwin and King Kekaulike.

With three games left to play after last week’s scoreless draw against Kamehameha Schools Maui, the Lunas (6-2-2) are a mere one point behind second place Na Alii and three points shy of MIL leading Baldwin.

At stake are the league championship and the two MIL tickets to the state tournament set for early February in Honolulu.

“We’re looking to finish the homestretch strong; we need to win all of our remaining games to have a chance for states,” said veteran West Side youth soccer mentor and Lahainaluna head coach Sam Aki.

“We’re a senior-heavy team with outstanding leadership as well as strong fundamental skills, solid defense and goalkeeping. Now, it is up to us coaches to provide the tactical stuff.”

The Lahaina community bid a fond aloha to senior Lady Luna basketball student athlete Elisapeta Hafoka (back row, third from left) in her final home game in the red and white of Lahainaluna High School on Jan. 13. The senior forward scored a career-high 25 points on her “Senior Night” to lead the Lady Lunas to an 80-14 win over King Kekaulike at Lahaina Civic Center. The win clinched the program’s 12th straight Maui Interscholastic League title and 16th consecutive trip to the state playoffs in early February in Honolulu. “As our only senior on a young team, Lisa took the leadership role and really did an excellent job of keeping the team together,” said Luna head coach Todd Rickard. “She worked so hard to keep improving and dedicated herself to make a difference in the program after our big three — Fiemea Hafoka, Cameron Fernandez and Kelea Aiko Koloi — graduated last year. She is a great person, and the entire Hafoka ‘ohana has great family values.” PHOTO BY GLEN PASCUAL.

Coach Sam is assisted by Robyn Rodriguez, Francisco Rodriguez, Stephen Pisacano and David Ramirez – all longtime youth soccer leaders here on the West Side.

The Lunas’ leadership core is manned by senior captains Radon Sinenci and Erick Montiel, and sophomore captain Elias Gonzalez. The long list of senior experience includes Kyle Shultz, Mauricio Flores, Marcos Lopez, Brandon Flores, Tahjan Kruck, Dayton Felicilda, Hesed Garcia and Roberto Cardenas.

The roster’s junior contingent includes Jacob Gonzalez, Taylor Salmon, Fernando Cedillo, Adolpho Cruz, Jake Kealoha and Brian Murillo. The sophomore class is represented by Ramon Cedillo, Pablo “El Dinero” Rico, Nyles Pokipala Waiohu, Jesus Alvarez and Brian Gonzalez.

First-year Lahainaluna players on the roster are Raul Lopez, David Sanchez and Brian Sandoval.

The team managers are Ainakea Corona and Daniela Garnica.

“These players challenge each other every day in practice,” added Aki. “We are deep with talent and can use players in different positions – very versatile. They are smart, have a positive attitude and are solid academically – the best in years.”

“My thanks goes out to the entire coaching staff, trainers Jon Conrad and Helen Hetzel, AD Scott Soldwisch, and especially our parent support group that were instrumental in our two fundraisers. Also, mahalo to the Old Lahaina Luau for the use of their facility for our fundraiser, and to all of the youth league leaders with AYSO and HYSA that do such a great job of preparing the kids for the high school level,” Coach Sam concluded.