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The Mililani boys soccer team went from frustration to elation against Kapolei on Tuesday, thanks to a double-header goal finished off by Noah Fujikane.
Fujikane scored in the 69th minute and Will Simpson added a penalty kick in the 80th as host Mililani beat Kapolei 2-0 in a battle of unbeaten OIA West Division I teams.
Mililani (9-0-0, 27 points) will be the West’s top seed and receive a first-round bye in the OIA tournament, set for Feb. 14-18.
“It’s just another steppingstone,” said Mililani coach Stephen McGehee. “Our ultimate goal is not now. It’s games beyond this, so that’s what we’re building for.”
The Trojans were stymied in the first half against a packed-in Hurricanes defense.
Mililani finally broke through in the 69th minute when Andre Estaniqui’s corner kick from the left side went to Justin Tilton, who headed the ball to Fujikane for the header finish.
“We went over it so many times in practice already, so I knew when Justin got it at the back post, he was going to serve it back in, so I was ready,” Fujikane said. “The ball came straight to me.”
In the final minute, the Trojans’ Kai Martin was tripped in the penalty area and Simpson stepped to the spot and buried the kick.
Simpson thought about letting Estaniqui, who missed a penalty kick in the 47th minute, take the kick but decided to take it himself.
“I wanted him to redeem himself, but I just stepped up and I didn’t hear anything,” Simpson said. “I was trying to score and help my team win.”
Kapolei (9-1-0, 27 points) will be the No. 2 seed and also receive a bye into the quarterfinals of the OIA tournament.
The Trojans had the only two legitimate scoring opportunities in the first half.
In the 25th minute, Max Scott’s throw-in from the left side wasn’t cleared and Martin took a left-footed shot that grazed the left post.
In the 29th, Simpson did a nifty job getting loose down the right side and slotted a pass to Scott, whose shot went wide right.
“In the first half, we just stayed with it and were patient,” Fujikane said. “We knew our chances would come in the second half.”
The Hurricanes were content to stay behind the ball and let the Trojans operate against limited pressure.
“We had a game plan from the start. We were trying to play a defensive game with counterattacks,” said Kapolei coach Keoki Haole.
The Trojans had two more scoring opportunities in the 47th minute.
Simpson got through the middle of the defense and juked left past goalkeeper Ciano Pham, but his shot was deflected past the end line. The corner kick by Mililani traveled into traffic to the left of goal and the referee called a handball on Kapolei.
The Trojans’ Estaniqui stepped up to the spot and sent a shot to the right, which was stopped by a diving Pham.
“Great effort, great heart,” Haole said of this goalkeeper. “Ciano never had much experience coming into this, but he has grown so much as a player.”
Kapolei’s best scoring opportunity came in the 63rd when Elijah Hines took a through ball in space, but his shot was saved by Mililani keeper Joseph Panetta.
The Trojans’ final regular-season game will be Friday at Nanakuli, while the Hurricanes’ regular season is over.
Mililani and Kapolei could finish in a tie atop the standings, but the Trojans would hold the head-to-head tie-breaker for the West’s top seed.
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