Injuries and transfers hurt Lahainaluna High School soccer teams
LAHAINA – Both the Lahainaluna High School girls and boys soccer teams looked forward to the 2018-19 Maui Interscholastic League season with high hopes of moving up in the final standings or even mounting a challenge for a conference title. Those hopes were dashed, however, as injuries, transfers and ineligibility took several key players on both rosters off the field.
For the Lahainaluna boys team in particular, concussions to four key players and academic ineligibility to several others sent the Lunas tumbling after they jumped off to a fast start to the season.
Led by the veteran coaching staff of Sam Aki, Robyn Rodriguez, Francisco Rodriguez and Deidre Rockett, the team was challenging for the MIL lead after four games, but the attrition of those key players led to a disappointing finish to the year.
The Luna boys were led by seniors Ramon Cedillo, Bryan Gonzalez, Elias Gonzalez, Pablo “Dinero Hombre” Rico, Jesus Alvarez, Santiago Vera, and Favian Ramirez, along with juniors Jose Garcilazo, Brian Sandoval, Ikaika Galarita, Johan Flores and Kai Casco, and sophomores Oliver Favila, Josue Ramirez and Keanu Ornellas.
For the Lady Lunas, the roster hits began before the season started, as experienced players from the club leagues and last year’s MIL team transferred to other schools on the Valley Isle. That left the coaching staff of Chris Baum, Sky Delaney and Nate Mau in a scramble to field a team to compete with the top guns in the MIL, including King Kekaulike and Kamehameha Schools Maui.
The team persevered to the final whistle despite the inexperience of their young roster. That lineup included Kalea Acevedo Silva, Kailee Badua, Taryn Cabingas, Maile Mae Cacal, Chiarra Clark, Alexis Alani Cowan, Makena Cowan, Sandra Esparza, Kerry Naomi Flores, Shaden Yolanda Flores, Ihilani Piikea Garcia, Kahealani Precious Garcia, Courtney Morgan, Damali Aileen Olea Bricena, Jenistree Pedroza, Malia Pitzer, Mia Anne Powley, Sosefina Riley, Ana Paula Rodriguez Gomez, Trinity Scanlan, and Victoria Jendaya Vera.
Both the girls and boys programs expressed their appreciation to the parent support groups, and especially to Judy Mae Aki for the concession stand at home games, and to Leslie and Nelson Hiraga for their repair and renovation of the soccer goals at Sue D. Cooley Stadium.