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Kubasaki defender Amanda Martinez and Nile C. Kinnick striker Frances Zukowski battle for the ball during Friday's championship match in the 2007 Far East High School Class AA Tournament at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Kubasaki beat Kinnick 3-1.

Kubasaki defender Amanda Martinez and Nile C. Kinnick striker Frances Zukowski battle for the ball during Friday's championship match in the 2007 Far East High School Class AA Tournament at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Kubasaki beat Kinnick 3-1. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Kubasaki defender Amanda Martinez and Nile C. Kinnick striker Frances Zukowski battle for the ball during Friday's championship match in the 2007 Far East High School Class AA Tournament at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Kubasaki beat Kinnick 3-1.

Kubasaki defender Amanda Martinez and Nile C. Kinnick striker Frances Zukowski battle for the ball during Friday's championship match in the 2007 Far East High School Class AA Tournament at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Kubasaki beat Kinnick 3-1. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Kubasaki striker Kara Koeneke tries to kick the ball past Nile C. Kinnick defender Amelia Simpson during Friday's championship match.

Kubasaki striker Kara Koeneke tries to kick the ball past Nile C. Kinnick defender Amelia Simpson during Friday's championship match. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Kubasaki Dragons girls soccer players celebrate Friday's 2-1 championship victory over Nile C. Kinnick in the 2007 Far East High School Class AA Tournament.

Kubasaki Dragons girls soccer players celebrate Friday's 2-1 championship victory over Nile C. Kinnick in the 2007 Far East High School Class AA Tournament. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — As freshmen last season, Kara Koeneke, Rina Ihu and Natalie Monti showed plenty of winning potential.

On Friday, the “Super Sophomores” delivered, accounting for all of their team’s scoring as the Kubasaki Dragons returned to the title throne they last occupied four years ago.

Ihu broke a 1-1 tie in the 68th minute, then Koeneke provided an insurance goal in the 77th as Kubasaki rallied from a 1-0 first-half deficit past Nile C. Kinnick 3-1 in the Far East High School Girls Class AA Soccer Tournament title match at Yokota High School’s Bonk Field.

“This was the sweetest,” coach Terry Chumley said of the three championships she has won at the Dragons’ helm.

“They make me so proud. They worked so hard to get where we are.”

The championship joins those won by the Dragons in 2002 and 2003, and also kept the title on Okinawa since the tournament’s inception in 1998. Kadena won the title in 1998, 2000 and 2004-06.

It also wiped away the bitter memories of losing the 2005 title match in a penalty-kick shootout against Kadena, and falling in last year’s semifinal to American School In Japan, also on penalty kicks.

Kinnick lost for the second time in two visits to a Class AA championship match; the Red Devils lost 1-0 to Kadena in 2000 at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

Early on, it appeared the Red Devils would have their way with the Dragons. Kinnick made run after run at the Kubasaki net, finally cashing in when freshman Tara Bartkoski netted her 38th goal of the season in the 14th minute.

But the tide soon turned, in a match played in steady rainfall and on Bonk’s muddy turf. Kubasaki’s defense took over, tightly marking Bartkoski and striker Frances Zukowski and turning the runfest into a slowdown battle.

“We made a defensive mistake,” Chumley said of Bartkoski’s goal. “We just toughened up and made sure it didn’t happen again.”

Defense had become a Kubasaki staple, Chumley said, particularly after tying former three-time champion Kadena twice by 0-0 scores late in the season.

“That gave us a lot of confidence going into Far East,” she said. “They’re a high-scoring team.”

Kubasaki broke through when Monti gathered a loose ball and lofted it to the top left corner off Kinnick keeper Charlemagne Cameron’s hand three minutes before halftime.

That goal “definitely” served as the turning point, Kinnick coach Nico Hindie said.

“Charla had a chance to get to it, but she (Monti) put it in the one spot where she couldn’t get to it. We were looking forward to a 1-0 halftime lead. It did a lot” to sap the Devils’ morale, he said.

Ihu put the Dragons ahead for good with her ninth goal of the season, banging in a crossing pass from the left side by Koeneke in the 68th minute. Nine minutes later, Ihu sent the ball into the area, where it slithered through Cameron’s hands to Koeneke, who kicked it home.

“Kubasaki’s a great team,” Hindie said. “They were just hustling and they didn’t give up. They deserved it.”

Class AA girls scoreboardAt Bonk Field, Yokota H.S., and Yokota Middle School field, Yokota Air Base, JapanSingle-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 2, Edgren 1, SO (4-1)Match 10-Seisen 5, Zama JV 1Match 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-Guam 1, Seisen 0, SO (2-0), ninth placeMatch 16-Edgren 6, Zama JV 0, 11th placeMatch 17-Seoul 2, Zama 1, fifth placeMatch 18-ASIJ 3, Hong Kong 1, seventh placeMatch 19-Kadena 5, Yokota 0, third placeMatch 20-Kubasaki 3, Kinnick 1, championship

Awards MVP-Breyana Anderson, Yokota.Golden Boot-Jennifer Abel, Kadena.Outstanding Goalkeeper-Helen Schrock, Kadena.All-Tournament team-Kara Koeneke (two-time selection), Kubasaki; Mariko Wood (two-time selection), Frances Zukowski (two-time selection), Tara Bartkoski, Kinnick; Jennifer Abel (three-time selection), Kelsey Decker, Helen Schrock, Kadena; Breyana Anderson (two-time selection), Daniya Nixon (two-time selection), Yokota; Erica Anglade, Seoul; Aubrey Ashliman, Zama; Morgan Bridgman, ASIJ; Britta Winans, Hong Kong; Sarah Riley, Seisen; Sarah Jagodzinski, Guam.

Friday’s summaries

Edgren 6, Zama JV 1 Zama JV..........0 1—1Edgren..........4 2—6Goals-Edgren, Audrey Haltli 2 (4), Chandra Melillo 1 (7), Alyssa Rodriguez 1 (7), Mia Angelella 1 (6), Ashley Nelson 1 (1); Zama JV, Chelsea Thomas 1.

Guam 1, Seisen 0, SO (2-0) Guam..........0 0 0 0—0Seisen..........0 0 0 0—0Shootout goals-Guam, Kayla Cruz, Ashley Grey.

ASIJ 3, Hong Kong 1 Hong Kong..........1 0—1ASIJ..........2 1—3Goals-ASIJ, Morgan Bridgman 2 (18), Juliana Onozuka 1 (4); Hong Kong, Alex Scott 1.

Seoul 2, Zama 1 Seoul..........1 1—2Zama..........0 1—1Goals-Seoul, Erica Anglade 2 (26); Zama, Anna Park 1 (9).

Kadena 5, Yokota 0 Yokota..........0 0—0Kadena..........2 3—5Goals-Kadena, Kyla Feeney 2 (25), Cassie McDonald 2 (13), Kelsey Decker 1 (6). Assists-Kadena, Kelsey Decker 1 (33), Ashley Zapp 1.

Championship

Kubasaki 3, Kinnick 1 Kubasaki..........1 2—3Kinnick..........1 0—1First halfKinnick-Tara Bartkowski (38) (unassisted), 14th minute.Kubasaki-Natalie Monti (2) (unassisted), 37th minute.Second halfKubasaki-Rina Ihu (11) (Kara Koeneke), 68th minute.Kubasaki-Kara Koeneke (22) (Rina Ihu), 77th minute.

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

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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