LAHAINA - The smallest player on the roster scored what can be called the biggest goal in Lahainaluna High School boys soccer history.
Noah Camara is 5-foot-3 and 108 pounds. His first career high school goal, a rocket off a defender in the 54th minute, ricocheted past Kamehameha Maui goalkeeper Acer Pahukoa and found the back of the net, giving Lahainaluna a 1-0 win over the Warriors on Tuesday in front of about 500 fans at "The Imu."
It also boosted the Lunas' lead in the Maui Interscholastic League standings to four points.
Noah Camara (left) celebrates with Jorge Hernandez after scoring in the 54th minute of Lahainaluna High School’s 1-0 victory over Kamehameha Maui on Tuesday at “The Imu.”
GLEN PASCUAL photo
Rhys Lendio of Lahainaluna and Daniel Quenga of Kamehameha Maui battle for a ball Tuesday.
GLEN PASCUAL photo
"Yeah, definitely, that might be the biggest goal ever for us," Lahainaluna coach Sam Aki said. "He has been working hard and he got his goal - his first goal ever for us couldn't have come at a bigger time, definitely."
Lahainaluna, in its 30th season of MIL boys soccer, has never been to the state tournament, much less won the league title. At 8-2-1, the Lunas lead the crowded MIL Division I standings with 25 points and meet second-place Baldwin a week from today at Keopuolani Park. The Lunas finish the 14-game season with a pair against winless Hana.
"Hopefully we can take care of business - it's ours to lose right now," Aki said. "We are still in first, but we have to finish out the season. We know anything can happen, so we just have to take it game by game."
|x-clinched division championship,|
|y-clinched state-tournament berth|
|Seabury Hall 0, Maui High 0|
|Lahainaluna 2, Kamehameha Maui 2, tie|
|St. Anthony at Seabury Hall, 4 p.m.|
|Maui High at Hana, 6 p.m.|
|Baldwin vs. King Kekaulike at|
|Keopuolani Park, 7 p.m.|
Lahainaluna 1, Kamehameha Maui 0
Maui High at Seabury Hall, 4 p.m.
Maui High at Hana, 4 p.m.
Baldwin vs. King Kekaulike at Keopuolani Park, 5 p.m.
Camara was all smiles as he was mobbed after the match.
"I didn't know if it would go in, I wasn't expecting anything," Camara, a junior midfielder, said of his shot from about 25 yards out. "I just saw the Kamehameha defender dribbling the ball and he dropped it. I took a shot and it went in and I felt great."
The Lunas dominated play and had several near-misses earlier, the biggest of which was a popped-up volley over the crossbar by Jorge Hernandez off a beautiful pass from Rhys Lendio in the 33rd minute with Pahukoa out of the net chasing down Lendio. In the 45th, Lendio sent a shot wide left on a breakaway. Dylan Morales was denied by Pahukoa on a breakaway in the 61st.
"I didn't feel frustrated at all," Camara said. "I just feel, like, very good. I wanted to take my shot because I never scored in my three years of playing so it felt good."
The Warriors (4-3-2) also had a couple of good chances, including a ball off the foot of Rance Souza that beat Lunas goalkeeper Gerardo Ramirez but bounced off the crossbar in the 36th minute.
"We have five matches left," first-year Kamehameha Maui coach Paul McGrew said. "An unlucky goal, but I think we will bounce back. Every match we have played the boys have given 100 percent, so we will see how it goes next week."
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org