KAHULUI — It’s really a brand new day for the Maui Excessive College soccer group.
The Sabers haven’t gained a Maui Interscholastic League recreation since 2018 after they completed 5-4 within the league, beating Baldwin in a championship playoff recreation to assert the league’s Division I state match berth.
A winless league season in 2019, the COVID-19 shutdown final season and a first-year teaching workers underneath head coach Robert Dougherty have generated a brand-new vibe on the Kahului campus’ apply subject.
The Sabers will begin the season at Lahainaluna on Oct. 22 — the Lunas have gained a document 25 league video games in a row and after 4 straight state Division II titles, they’ve moved as much as Division I.
The Sabers had 57 gamers cleared to play on Thursday, they usually have been the one group within the MIL to have a separate apply for junior varsity, with 23 underclassmen on that squad.
Loko Aizek Lakalaka is a 6-foot, 320-pound junior lineman who’s prone to see motion on either side of the ball — offensive guard and nostril guard on protection.
“I feel it’s going good, I feel we’re progressing higher than we have been within the first apply time and I feel we’re going to progress extra earlier than the primary recreation comes,” Lakalaka mentioned. “Individuals are excited for the video games, however they’re somewhat bummed that they will’t see the video games in particular person.”
Reside streaming goes to be offered for all MIL soccer video games whereas followers are presently restricted from attending by Maui County and state tips, however that’s anticipated to be revised quickly.
Lakalaka likes what he sees when he scanned the sector.
“I feel we’re fairly good, however there’s loads to enhance on, protection and particular groups and I feel our conditioning may very well be loads higher,” he mentioned.
Lakalaka admitted that he was able to switch to an Oahu faculty if the season right here had been delayed any greater than it was.
“I’m pleased it labored it out and I may play right here,” he mentioned.
That was the favored feeling on Thursday on the upbeat apply that the Sabers have been conducting.
Ethan Takara is a 5-10, 145-pound senior receiver/defensive again who can also be excited to be again on the soccer subject for the primary time since his sophomore 12 months.
“It feels nice after that lengthy break, simply to be again out right here,” he mentioned. “I feel this group is basically locked in, particularly after the lengthy break that we had, everybody is able to get again on the market and provides it their all.”
Takara mentioned he’ll attempt to lead as a senior for the Sabers.
“Because it’s senior 12 months, I actually need to exit with a bang,” he mentioned. “I feel this group can go actually far if all of us simply purchase in to what Coach Rob has for us and we simply keep targeted for the season.”
Dougherty is a bodily schooling instructor on the faculty and was employed for the teaching job in November 2019. Dougherty performed faculty soccer at Boston College and professionally within the Canadian Soccer League and the World League of American Soccer.
Dougherty is the eighth head coach for the Sabers since Curtis Lee retired following a distinguished 21-year profession as MHS head coach in 2004.
Dougherty served as a head coach at three totally different excessive colleges in California from 2000 to 2008 and was a bodily schooling teacher and head soccer coach at School of the Sequoias from 2009 to 2013.
“We’re inspired by what we see, , however we’ve nonetheless acquired plenty of work to do,” he mentioned. “Our tempo at apply has acquired to extend somewhat bit, however that simply comes with the territory. Restarting like this, it’s been somewhat tough right here and there, however we’re getting there, somewhat bit higher each day.”
Dougherty mentioned the trenches shall be a powerful level for the Sabers.
Seniors Coby Wakayama, a 5-8, 170-pound operating again/outdoors linebacker, and Zach Dando, a large receiver/place kicker/security will even be key to the Maui Excessive season.
“We’ve acquired some strong linemen, however two younger quarterbacks — they’re each actually even, each are sophomores and each convey some good attributes,” Dougherty mentioned. “Lakalaka is a 300-pounder who can transfer fairly effectively; he’s going to be large for us.”
Dougherty mentioned the group has been shopping for in to the brand new recreation plan.
“The angle is nice, they’re working actual exhausting,” he mentioned. “They’ve acquired different stuff too. We’ve acquired an entire educational program that we do, a tutorial recreation plan. So, they’ve to hold round a binder — they’ve acquired to get grade checks, they’ve acquired to take notes and the coaches examine all of the binders.
“They’ve acquired different pressures moreover simply taking part in for us. They’ve acquired off-the-field stuff, too, however they’re dealing with it actual effectively.”
Dougherty admitted he personally can’t wait to get going. He served as Seabury Corridor athletic director from 2013 to 2019.
“I’m excited, it’s been a very long time, my final season teaching was in junior faculty in 2013 or one thing like that, so it’s been some time,” Dougherty mentioned. “I’ve at all times simply actually beloved teaching. I’m again to what I actually love doing.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
Sabers at a Look
2019 document: 0-8 MIL, 1-8 total
Returning starters: 4 offense, 4 protection