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Heavy overnight rainfall turned the fields used for Saturday’s Kadena boys and girls soccer matches into quagmires.

Standing water could be seen in parts of Amelia Earhart Intermediate School’s field, where Kadena’s boys beat Japanese team Koyo 6-0. The same could be found at Kadena High School’s upper field, where the girls shut out Urasoe 15-0 and Shuri 12-0.

Elsewhere, rain washed out the Okinawa Activities Council district track and field championship, as well as Kadena’s and Kubasaki’s baseball and softball games.

Kubasaki’s boys canceled their match with Dream Planet, a Japanese club team, slated for Kubasaki’s upper field. Athletic director Fred Bales said the match was called off to preserve the field for this month’s Class AA girls tournament.

Kadena girls coach Hoa Nguyen said he chose to play on in the rain in the hope it would help prepare his team for the potential to play Class AA matches in similar conditions — and prevent a repeat of the 5-3 overtime loss to Kubasaki in 2002’s Class AA final, in which his team gave up an own goal because of a mishandled ball on wet turf.

“We had not practiced or played in bad conditions” in 2002, Nguyen said. “It’s like a monkey on my back. Why did we not practice or play in the rain? That’s haunted me for five years.”

But what of the possibility of a player suffering an injury in such conditions?

“That’s always a worry but more than that, I want to prepare my girls for Far East matches in the rain,” Nguyen said.

“I was a little worried” going into Saturday’s matches, said Kadena girls captain Dianne Abel, a senior. “I didn’t want any of us to get hurt so close to Far East. But if you go into a game worrying about an injury, you’re more prone to getting injured, rather than if you just go in and play and don’t worry about it.”

Meanwhile, despite the mud and muck, Kadena’s boys ran their shutout streak to four matches and 320 minutes.

The victory over Koyo remained a tight match until the final 12 minutes, when the Panthers peppered the Koyo net for four quick goals.

Seconds after Anthony Soroka put Kadena up 2-0, Koyo made a rush on the Panthers’ net. But senior goalkeeper Ted Awana made a save, leaping to his right on a Koyo shot from point-blank range and into heavy traffic in front of the net.

“It felt good,” said Awana, who has recorded the four straight shutouts in net but hasn’t seen many shots thanks to Kadena’s defense. “When you don’t see much action, you can get a little too comfortable. But it goes to show, you can still play well even when conditions are as bad as they were today.”

“He’s like a sleeping lion back there,” Kadena coach Michael Callahan said. “It takes a lot of concentration to go that long and not do much. But when he’s called upon to make a big save, he makes it.”

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