ILH Elimination Game

April 30, 2012

In the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) “2nd Place Playoff Game,” Kamehameha defeated ‘Iolani 7-5 to advance the the State Championships next week. Personally, i think the format’s terrible, but it happens in softball and baseball all the time, so i suppose it’s got to happen in one game or another.

In this game, however, it pitted two of the top four ranked teams in Hawai’i against each other, with only the winner to advance. During warmups, it appeared ‘Iolani had it together, but then, Kam scored first to create a little doubt… ‘Iolani then scored two quick goals from either deep wing, as Kam D collapsed on the center and point shooters… but Kam answered right back to take the lead before the quarter ended 3-2 in their favor.

From that point on, it was all Kam D, led by great play from Goalkeeper Allie Mae Rosehill, who I had with 8 saves and an “intimidation” on a Raider penalty shot. Albeit her team forced many errant shots, Rosehill was stellar all the way to a commanding 5-2 lead at the end of three quarters. Her early saves, especially those that appeared to be easy goals for the Raiders, caused her opponents to over-think their shot selection.

fortunately for ‘Iolani, Kam lost a key defender, Kiana Yamashiro, with three majors late in the third, so they had a chance to recover and scored early in the fourth. Kam answered. In the end, although the Raiders had cut the gap to 6-5, the Warriors balanced out and closed out the scoring with an insurance goal.

Scoring summary: Kam, Brittney Garrigan (3), Chelsea Apo (2), Kawena Bikle (2); “Iolani, Taryn Aranador (2), Sarah Carlisle (2), Kiana Harpstrite.

Saves summary: Kam, Allie Mae Rosehill (8); ‘Iolani, Keely Choi (4).

Kelly’s perspective: I loved the game for intensity and determination by both teams’ players and all coaches. Good friend, Aaron Chaney (‘Iolani) mentioned to me after the game, “It’s tough for our ladies, who had such a good season, especially against Kamehameha, to have one game where they just don’t perform well — and the other team has a huge chance to advance — and they do.” Yes, Kamehameha took advantage of their opportunity.

Recommendation: After being back in the Islands a few days, both the OIA and the ILH need to “get real” and start playing inter-association/league games in order to improve. With the loss of Pac-Five in ILH girls polo play this year, the three remaining teams cannot afford to “just do” a double (or triple as in this year) round-robin to gain playing experience. It’s not enough to improve. And the OIA teams need to play official games against ILH teams (not just scrimmages) to get better, using those as a gauge for their improvement during the season and from year-to-year. Initially, these games can be pre-season formats, perhaps in tournaments — or just home-and-away alternating ventures —  with 5-minute quarters in lieu of a full 7-minutes. The ILH teams, early on, need to be allowed to build their records so that all three teams are in States (i.e., a change to the selection format). This year I am intently watching the Hawai’i Girls Water Polo State Championships to ensure Hawai’i girls are being ranked on the KAI~CAL-HI commensurate with the California girls — but I’m also prepared to comment on why the OIA should get six automatic teams… perhaps it should be five… or perhaps the OIA teams are willing to take the competitive risks necessary to win it all…

OIA Championships – Day 3, Gold Medal Game

April 29, 2012

The Kahuku Red Raiders came into the championship as the two-time defending O’ahu  Interscholastic Association Champions looking for a three-peat —  what they got was a great game from upset minded Kapolei Hurricane ladies water polo team — and were pressed to the hilt to deliver a great performance to capture the title once again.

Shelley Kemp PhotographyIt was Kapolei that jumped to a 3-1 lead at the end of one, and although weathering a lapse in the second to fall behind 3-4 at half, consistently came back to tie at 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6 in the third behind goal scorers Tiala Wendt (3), Brooke Bosque (2), and Danielle Johnasen (1). Senior Goalkeeper Summer Reyes also provided sparks by stopping several 1-v-1 counterattacks, holding the two sisters, Kahea and Nohea Kahaulelio, to only one goal each.


Kahuku's goalkeeper, Kayla Chang, makes a save in the OIA Championship Game.

But in the end, although Kapolei had improved greatly, it was the strength and conditioning of the Kahuku that won out. Field MVP Paulina Germain (3) led Kailee Krebs and Sydney Foster (2 apiece).  Great play by junior Goalie Kayla Chang, with her saves when they mattered most, kept the team in the game when the pitch play wasn’t proactive.

Both teams will be seeded highly, along with the ILH’s Punahou and Kamehameha. Coaches from those teams (Ken Smith, Keala O’Sullivan) were in the stands to scout.

Congratulations ladies, for a well-fought tournament! — and congratulations, OIA Commissioner Richard Haru, for a well-conducted tournament!

Additional side note: great refereeing throughout, especially by Michelle Wong and David Fasi in the championship game. Aloha for now, see you at States…

OIA Championships – Day 3, Bronze Medal Game

April 29, 2012

Roosevelt's Kekai McGee lets fly with a shot to score.

The Roosevelt High School lady Rough Riders provided the first upset of this year’s tournament, defeating Mililani lady Trojans 7-2 for the third place victory. The game started out slowly with both teams missing opportunities to score, a dismal 1-1 at halftime, with neither team looking to want nor need to win. Even midway through the third quarter, the score remained at 2-2.

Then the fun for Roosevelt started, with Kekai McGee (3 goals), finally coming “unglued” and finding the back of the net with an offspeed shot and a cross-goal lob to take the 4-2 lead.


Roosevelt's Rachel Kamai scores at OIA Champs.

In the fourth, Roosevelt did not let up, scoring three more. The Game’s Co-MVP, Rachel Kamai (2 goals), proved to be the difference as she picked up her level of play from earlier in the week and led to great improvement for her team.


Next up for both teams: HHSAA State Championships!

OIA Championships – Day 3, Consolation Game

April 29, 2012

Playing for a higher seed at upcoming States, the Kaiser Cougars screamed out to a 6-1 lead over the Leilehua Mules and took a strong 7-3 third quarter lead, mostly on scoring from senior Randi Gongob (4 goals), before she fouled out with three personals.


Kaiser's Randi Gongob drives for a shot.

Although Kaiser held on for an 8-5 lead at the end of the third quarter, Mule workhorse Aundria Vidal (7 goals) scored relentlessly with 6m direct free shots to close the gap and level the scoring 8-8 in the fourth — only to lose 11-8 in the end.


Kaiser's Corrine Shigeta looks to score.

Another Co-MVP of the game was clearly Cougar Corrine Shigeta (4 goals), who lead her teammates throughout the game with her stellar performance.

Next up for both teams: Hawai’i High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) Girls Water Polo State Championships at UH Pool.

O’ahu Interscholastic Association Championships – Day 2

April 28, 2012

The biggest story in the second day of playoffs were the two consolation games — where Kaiser and Leilehua both advanced, victories over Pearl City and Moanalua respectively. More importantly, these two consolation games locked berths in next week’s Hawai’i High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) State Championships.

With 4 goals each from both Randi Gongob and Jessie Watkins, Kaiser girls took out their opponent. The second game was a bit closer, 10-8, with Brianna Kirk leading Leilehua with 6 goals and Rell Koizumi leading Moanalua with 4 goals.

In the first semifinal, tournament favorite Kahuku Red Raiders outlasted Roosevelt Rough Riders 18-8 behind 6 goals from Kahea Kahaulelio, mostly on speedy counterattacks, but the best contest of the day was saved for the nightcap.

The second semifinal proved to be an amazing test of willpower. Kapolei jumped out to a 5-1 lead, eventually 7-3 at one point late in the game due to balanced scoring. But then it got interesting at Central O’ahu Regional Park (CORP) Veteran’s Memorial Aquatic Center (VMAC), as Mililani picked up the pressure on defense and pace on offense. A sweet pass from Dru Daley to Kylie Tom tied the game at 7-7, then another pass from Daley to Cassie Kawamata tied it again at 8-8 to force overtime. In the OT, Kapolei Hurricanes got a quick two-goal lead to hold on 10-9 and advance to the gold medal game versus the Red Raiders on Saturday, with goals from seven players. Daley and Kawamata finished with 4 each for the Lady Trojans and will play for bronze against the Rough Riders.


O’ahu Interscholastic Association Championships – Day 1

April 27, 2012

The toughest game on the opening day of competition for the OIA playoffs was between Kaiser HS and Roosevelt HS — and although Kaiser Cougars jumped out to a two-goal lead (more than once), the more experienced and disciplined Rough Riders were able to gain a two-goal lead at the end and hold on for a hard-fought 10-9 victory. The most exciting thing for me personally is that the head coach of Roosevelt (Susan Nishioka) and a mom of Kaiser player Jessie (Anna Marie Watkins) were both former polo players of mine!.. In each of their new roles, each lady mentors and roots for great group of girls carrying on the proud tradition of Hawai’i girls polo!

Susan was the star All-American goalkeeper for the University of Hawai’i Women’s Water Polo club and Anuenue (Rainbow) Aquatics club; Anna Marie competed for the Hawai’i Kai girls in the National Junior Olympics, then also with Anuenue when she entered the University of Hawai’i as a star sprinter on the Women’s Swimming varsity. Together, with others to be mentioned in the future, the two teamed on a Rainbow top-eight finish at USA Senior Outdoor Nationals and won the senior division of the State Age Group Water Polo Championships multiple times!