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