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Kalani collects Division II soccer crown

Jan. 21—Related Photo Gallery: Leilehua faces Kalani for OIA Division II girls soccer championship

The Kalani girls soccer team got off to a poor start Saturday against Leilehua but cashed in a perfect penalty kick session.

Kaiulani Nishigaya, Mia Shizumura, Riley Asato, Chiara Doyle and Kira-May Nosse made penalty kicks as Kalani beat Leilehua 3-2 (PKs 5-4) in the final of the OIA Girls Division II Tournament at Kapolei.

"We've been working so hard this whole season. From start to finish, they pushed through it," Kalani coach Jillian Okamoto said. "We had some scary moments, but they found it within themselves to hang in there."

It was the first OIA girls soccer title for the Falcons, who allowed a goal just 10 seconds into the game.

Kalani (7-3-2) played all away games this season while its on-campus field is having artificial turf installed. The team's practice area at Waialae Iki, which is a five-minute walk from campus, is about one-quarter of a regulation field, Okamoto said.

"It doesn't matter the size of the field, we just have to work hard together as a team," said Nishigaya, who scored on a free kick in the fifth minute.

Kalani, Leilehua, Radford, Farrington and Waialua will represent the OIA at the 12-team Motiv8 Foundation/HHSAA Girls Division II State Championships, which start Jan. 29.

Leilehua's Zoe Maikai, Maci Rivera, Alexyz Nakamoto and Cali Moniz-Kealoha converted penalty kicks. Claire Elsen, the Mules' No. 5 shooter, had her attempt blocked by Falcons goalkeeper Kaydee Nakamitsu, who was forced into action after the team's starter was injured during warmups.

Nosse's successful attempt to the right side set off a huge celebration for Kalani.

The Mules struck quickly on a goal by Nakamoto, who capitalized when the Falcons couldn't clear the opening kick. A Kalani defender chested down the ball and a teammate couldn't get a solid strike on it, which allowed Nakamoto to sneak in between both players and score.

"That was a shocker, but they came back and hung in there," Okamoto said.

Leilehua coach James Uson said: "Our kickoff play is to get it down to put the pressure on them. They messed up and Alexyz took advantage of it."

Kalani tied it at 4:11 on Nishigaya's 30-yard free kick. Leilehua goalkeeper Jaedys Agdinaoay took a few steps forward and the ball sailed over her head and into the center of the goal.

"Going into this game I knew my coaches wanted me to rip the ball," Nishigaya said.

The Falcons went ahead 2-1 at 10:59 on Doyle's 20-yard shot off a rebound.

"Those two are our go-to shooters from long distance," Okamoto said of Nishigaya and Doyle. "We drilled it into them, they need to take the shots from the outside."

The Falcons nearly added to their lead in the 49th when Asato slotted a pass to Hanabi Oseto, who fired a shot from about 6 yards that took an awkward bounce and nearly got past Leilehua backup goalkeeper Trishelle Dalindin.

Leilehua (6-6-0) nearly tied it in the 61st when Kalani goalkeeper Nakamitsu spilled the ball with Nakamoto bearing down on her. Nakamoto got to the ball on the left side and her shot from a sharp angle with no one in goal traveled just wide right.

The Mules weren't deterred. Just moments later, Moniz-Kealoha got the ball on the right side and blasted in a shot from 18 yards to tie it at 2-2 at 61:16.

Kalani nearly pulled it out in the final seconds when Nishigaya's blast from the left side deflected off a leaping Dalindin and off the crossbar.

The Mules had a solid scoring opportunity less than two minutes into the first overtime session when Nakamoto dribbled from right to left along the top of the penalty box and fired a shot that was saved.

The teams played 80 minutes of regulation and a pair of 10-minute golden-goal overtime periods before going to PKs.