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Mary Niemeyer, right, of Nile C. Kinnick crashes into Jennifer Abel of Kadena on a head-ball attempt during Thursday's semifinal match in the Girls Class AA (large schools) Soccer Tournament at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Kinnick edged three-time defending champion Kadena 2-1.

Mary Niemeyer, right, of Nile C. Kinnick crashes into Jennifer Abel of Kadena on a head-ball attempt during Thursday's semifinal match in the Girls Class AA (large schools) Soccer Tournament at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Kinnick edged three-time defending champion Kadena 2-1. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Mary Niemeyer, right, of Nile C. Kinnick crashes into Jennifer Abel of Kadena on a head-ball attempt during Thursday's semifinal match in the Girls Class AA (large schools) Soccer Tournament at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Kinnick edged three-time defending champion Kadena 2-1.

Mary Niemeyer, right, of Nile C. Kinnick crashes into Jennifer Abel of Kadena on a head-ball attempt during Thursday's semifinal match in the Girls Class AA (large schools) Soccer Tournament at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Kinnick edged three-time defending champion Kadena 2-1. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Kubasaki Dragons sophomore Kara Koeneke rifles a shot at the Yokota Panthers' net during Thursday's semifinal match. Kubasaki won 2-1 in a penalty-kick shootout.

Kubasaki Dragons sophomore Kara Koeneke rifles a shot at the Yokota Panthers' net during Thursday's semifinal match. Kubasaki won 2-1 in a penalty-kick shootout. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

What’s your opinion on the Kadena-Kinnick girls soccer controversy? Tell Dave Ornauer what you think at Stripes Blogs.

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Controversy marked the shocking end of Kadena’s three-year championship run in the Far East High School Girls Class AA Soccer Tournament.

Nile C. Kinnick of Japan beat the Panthers 2-1 in Thursday’s semifinal, a match called off in the 77th minute when Kadena coach Hoa Nguyen ordered his players to sit on the field and stop playing. Referee Lee Zukowski whistled the end of the match at that point.

Nguyen said he ordered his team to stop playing because Zukowski, a civilian working at Yokosuka Naval Base and a certified referee since 2002, is the father of Kinnick captain Frances Zukowski. Nguyen filed a protest, but it was denied by tournament organizers.

“The result of the match will stand, 2-1, Kinnick over Kadena,” tournament director Bonnie Seeley said. She and a protest committee met for almost three hours, and determined there was no conclusive proof of conflict of interest or fixing the match in Kinnick’s favor.

Nguyen accepted the ruling, sending Kadena to Friday’s third-place match against host Yokota, but he didn’t agree with it, nor Zukowski’s presence on the field.

Nguyen called his decision to order his team to stop playing “bad judgment” on his part, “but I felt I had to do it to protect my players. That’s conflict of interest. He can’t say he’s watching his daughter play and say he has no bias.”

Zukowski denied Nguyen’s allegations.

“Come on. I’ve been doing this for a long time. It was a good match. They (Kadena) still had an opportunity. ... For the coach to do that, it’s not fair for the girls. He’s setting the tone. He’s the role model for kids to look up to.”

DODDS-Pacific and tournament officials said only nine referees were available to work the tournament, four of whom were certified to work as center referees. All are either GIs or DOD civilians from Kanto Plain-area bases who referee on a part-time basis.

“It’s the nature of the beast,” said Scott Samdahl, a Level-6 certified U.S. Soccer Federation state referee who’s officiated soccer for more than 15 years in Japan and Okinawa. “We are doing the best we can. He (Zukowski) had no impact on the match. This wouldn’t happen if DODDS would fund referees to come to work tournaments from other areas” of the Pacific.

Don Hobbs, DODDS-Pacific’s Far East Activities Council chair, said a future solution would be to ensure both coaches know before a match starts that a player’s parent is refereeing “if we run into shortages. We should get the approval of both coaches. They should know in advance. We have to use better judgment and make it known.”

On the field, Frances Zukowski scored one of Kinnick’s two goals in the first half, her 29th of the season, and Tara Bartkowski added her 37th, while Kadena answered with Cassie McDonald’s 11th goal. It remained that way to the end.

Kadena senior striker Jen Abel, with 83 goals and 29 assists this season, received her second caution of the match in the 69th minute and was sent off for dissent. Eight minutes later, the sit-down ended the match.

“Jen’s a great player and she’s had a great career. It’s sad to see her go out like that,” said Nico Hindie, coach of a Kinnick team that was the last to beat Kadena in Class AA tournament play, in the 2003 third-place match.

“My girls worked hard. They deserved to win.”

Kubasaki girls survive shootout; Kadena, CAJ reach boys finalIn Friday’s final, Kinnick was to face Okinawa’s other girls team, Kubasaki, which moved a step toward its first title since 2003 by surviving a penalty-kick shootout with host Yokota. The Dragons’ senior goalkeeper, Alix Mackey, saved a shot by the Panthers’ Bethany Rogers in the fifth shootout round. Kubasaki won the shootout 3-2 and the match 2-1.

“I thought I was going to die,” Mackey said. “But it felt great when I saved it. It was the best feeling ever. I was so happy.”

Kubasaki lost the 2005 final to Kadena in a shootout and the 2006 semifinal to American School In Japan the same way.

“Three time’s the charm. Finally,” Dragons coach Terry Chumley said. Kubasaki reached its sixth title match in the tournament’s nine-year history.

On Okinawa, where controversy and shootouts were hardly a bother, Kadena’s boys booked a berth in their fifth straight championship match and sixth overall, blanking Hong Kong International 4-0 behind freshman Stanley Schrock’s three goals.

“He put everything on his shoulders,” Panthers coach Tom McKinney said of Schrock, who entered Friday's final with 19 goals. “We told him he could do this and he stepped up.”

The Panthers will face 2005 champion Christian Academy In Japan, 3-2 winners over Yokota in Thursday’s other semifinal. The Knights reached their third Class AA title match; CAJ also won the 2002 Class A tournament title.

“Both teams had to fight hard. It could have gone either way,” said Sean Collier, whose CAJ team beat Yokota four of the five times it faced the Panthers this season. “Even though we had beaten Yokota, we felt they were dangerous and we took them seriously. They fought tough and made it a tight game. We’re glad we got past this one.”

ScoreboardClass AA girlsAt Bonk Field, Yokota High School, and Yokota Middle School field Yokota Air Base, Japan

Single-elimination playoffs

Wednesday Match 1-Seoul American 1, Guam High 0Match 2-Hong Kong International 10, Zama American JV, Japan, 0Match 3-American School In Japan 2, Robert D. Edgren, Japan, 1Match 4-Zama, Japan, 10, Seisen International, Japan, 0Match 5-Kadena, Okinawa, 7, Seoul 1Match 6-Nile C. Kinnick, Japan, 4, Hong Kong 0Match 7-Yokota, Japan, 1, ASIJ 0, SO (4-1)Match 8-Kubasaki, Okinawa, 4, Zama 0

Thursday Match 9-Guam High 2, Edgren 1, SO (4-1)Match 10-Seisen 5, Zama JV 0Match 11-Seoul 2, ASIJ 0Match 12-Zama 4, Hong Kong 1Match 13-Kinnick 2, Kadena 1Match 14-Kubasaki 2, Yokota 1, SO (3-2)

Friday Match 15-Seisen vs. Guam, ninth placeMatch 16-Zama JV vs. Edgren, 11th placeMatch 17-Zama vs. Seoul, fifth placeMatch 18-ASIJ vs. Hong Kong, seventh placeMatch 19-Yokota vs. Kadena, third placeMatch 20-Kinnick vs. Kubasaki, championship

Thursday’s summaries

Guam High 2, Edgren 1, SO (4-1) Guam High..........0 1 0 0—1Edgren..........1 0 0 0—1Regulation goals-Guam, Ashley Grey 1 (2); Edgren, Chandra Melillo 1 (6). Shootout goals-Not available.

Seisen 5, Zama JV 0 Zama JV..........0 0—0Seisen..........1 4—5Goals-Seisen, Sarah Riley 3, Claire Wang 1, Chris Sonoki 1.

Seoul American 2, ASIJ 0 Seoul..........1 1—2ASIJ..........0 0—0Goals-Seoul, Erica Anglade 1 (24), Sabrina Torres 1 (2).

Zama 4, Hong Kong 1 Hong Kong..........1 0—1Zama..........3 1—4Goals-Zama, Aubrey Ashliman 1 (50), Saki Johnson 1 (10), Corinne Labial 1 (6), Tricia Manrique 1 (2); Hong Kong, Britta Winans 1.

Semifinals

Kinnick 2, Kadena 1 Kinnick..........2 0—2Kadena..........1 0—1Note-Match called after 77 minutes after Kadena players sat down on field and refused to continue playing.Goals-Kinnick, Tara Bartkowski 1 (37), Frances Zukowski 1 (29); Kadena, Cassie McDonald 1 (11). Assists-Kinnick, Tara Bartkowski 1; Kadena, Jennifer Abel 1.

Kubasaki 2, Yokota 1, SO (3-2) Kubasaki..........1 0 0 0—1Yokota..........1 0 0 0—1Regulation goals-Kubasaki, Kara Koeneke 1 (21); Yokota, Breyana Anderson 1 (30). Assist-Yokota, Bethany Rogers 1. Shootout goals-Kubasaki, Jessica Osborne, Kara Koeneke, Rina Ihu; Yokota, Lauryn Thomas, Daniya Nixon.

Class AA boysAt Kadena H.S., Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and Kubasaki High School, Camp Foster, Okinawa

Single-elimination playoffs

Wednesday Match 1-Zama American, Japan, 1, Robert D. Edgren, Japan, 0, OTMatch 2-Hong Kong International 6, Guam High 0Match 3-Kubasaki, Okinawa, 4, Okinawa Christian International 0Match 4-Kadena JV, Okinawa, 3, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan, 1Match 5-Kadena, Okinawa, 5, Zama 1Match 6-Hong Kong 2, Seoul 1Match 7-Yokota, Japan, 1, Kubasaki 0Match 8-Christian Academy In Japan 8, Kadena JV 0

Thursday Match 9-Edgren 3, OCSI 2, SO (4-3)Match 10-Kinnick 6, Guam High 0Match 11-Kubasaki 5, Zama 0Match 12-Seoul American 6, Kadena JV 0Match 13-Kadena 4, Hong Kong 0Match 14-CAJ 3, Yokota 2

Friday Match 15-Kinnick vs. Edgren, ninth placeMatch 16-OCSI vs. Guam High, 11th placeMatch 17-Seoul vs. Kubasaki, fifth placeMatch 18-Zama vs. Kadena JV, seventh placeMatch 19-Yokota vs. Hong Kong, third placeMatch 20-Kadena vs. CAJ, championship

Thursday’s summaries

Edgren 3, OCSI 2, SO (4-3) Edgren..........1 1 0 0—2OCSI..........2 0 0 0—2Regulation goals-Edgren, Brandon Massie 2 (24); OCSI, Daniel Yurak 1, Ben Hotue 1. Shootout goals-Edgren, Nathan Fine, Chris Tobiere, Trent Kurek, Brandon Massie; OCSI, Dan Kennedy, Alex Sartore, Yuta Omine.

Kinnick 6, Guam High 0 Guam High..........0 0—0Kinnick..........2 4—6Goals-Kinnick, Michael Bamba 3 (5), Daniel Appleman 1 (7), Pornchai Nongphayak 1 (7), Sam McAvoy 1 (4).

Kubasaki 5, Zama 0 Kubasaki..........1 4—5Zama..........0 0—0Goals-Kubasaki, Michael Derr 1 (10), Mitch Shible 1 (9), Jacob Hess 1 (7), Eddie Balfour 1 (6), Isaac Bennett 1 (1). Assists-Kubasaki, Corey Harter 1, Eddie Balfour 1.

Seoul American 6, Kadena JV 0 Kadena JV..........0 0—0Seoul..........4 2—6Goals-Seoul, Chris Churchwell 2 (17), Daniel Burns 2 (90, Preston Woolford 2 (9).

Semifinals

Kadena 4, Hong Kong 0 Hong Kong..........0 0—0Kadena..........1 3—4Goals-Kadena, Stanley Schrock 3 (19), Jacob Bloom 1 (9). Assists-Kadena, Sergio Gonzales 2, Jacob Bloom 1.

CAJ 3, Yokota 2 Yokota..........0 2—2CAJ..........1 2—3Goals-CAJ, Leo Kobayashi 2 (32), Brian Ho 1 (5); Yokota, Stefan Welch 1 (27), Jason Stroup 1 (12).

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