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.
It 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.
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…