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(Sat) February 7, 2009

HHSAA Division I GIRLS SOCCER: Punahou Topples Kamehameha in Division I Final

By Kyle Galdeira

Punahou dethroned three-time defending state champion Kamehameha with a thrilling 1-0 victory in the championship match of the Division I Hawaii High School Athletic Association/JN Automotive Group girls state soccer championships yesterday evening at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex’s main stadium.

The Buffanblu and Warriors played to two ties in Interscholastic League of Honolulu regular-season play, but Punahou picked the right time to pull out a win over league champion Kamehameha.

Buffanblu (13-0-3) midfielder Aisha Price used her superb throw-in ability to launch a rocket from the sideline into the goal area, where Jayann Gabrio was waiting to head the pass into the top of the net to put the Buffanblu up 1-0 in the match’s 36th minute. Price has been instrumental in providing her squad with instant offense off throw-in opportunities, as the senior’s strength and torque on her throws put opposing defenses at a disadvantage.

With four minutes to play in the match, Kamehameha’s Meleana Shim was awarded a free kick just outside of the 18-yard box, but her line drive shot was corralled by a diving Alana Munger to preserve the shutout for Punahou.

With under 30 seconds to play, Kamehameha (12-1-2) had a loose ball trickle across the Punahou goal area, but a handful of attackers could not round up the ball for what would have been an uncontested shot as Munger was out of position on the play. The Buffanblu cleared the ensuing corner kick try, and milked the final seconds off the clock to win the school’s ninth girls’ state soccer championship.