Girls High School Water Polo in O’ahu, Hawai’i — OIA Public Schools Championships

28-30 April 2016 — this weekend marked the annual Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) end-of-season championships for boys volleyball and baseball, girls & boys track & field, girls softball and water polo. I was fortunate to attend the latter, also visiting my in-laws in Honolulu and daughter, Chelsea, who’s been recently assigned to the Pacific region of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) — happily reassigned from Central region in St. Louis after a few long, cold, snowy winters!

Saturday, Finals Day

Championship Game: Kahuku 8-6 over Roosevelt

Mid-afternoon of the 30th found the two top teams in the tournament about to clash.

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Roosevelt, in blue, lines up for introductions with Kahuku, white.

The game started out with a bang for Kahuku Red Raiders, who jumped to a three-goal lead in the first quarter, before the Roosevelt Rough Riders were able to pull it back to a two-goal margin, 4-2, at the end of two and a one-goal margin, 6-5, at the end of three. At that point, the Raiders outlasted the Riders in the fourth with tight pressure, 3 steals, a player advantage goal and a nifty Indie Pyzel pass to Izzy Walker, who accomplished a quick spin and drive-in to put the game away, 8-6.

Cap#10, Walker, who sparked the Kahuku Red Raiders with 2 goals, 2 assists and 2 steals, commented after the game, “We were more motivated to win, since we lost the regular season game to Roosevelt by a goal. We just kept up the drive intensity. We just came out to win.” (I observed it wasn’t about ‘holding them off,’ it was about ‘maintaining the momentum’ and ‘maintaining the lead.’)

Other scorers for Kahuku included Indie Pyzel 3, with Ava Countryman, Kea Kunz and Grace Rittenhouse, 1 each. Senior Taylor Brooks of Roosevelt had another good game, mustering 3 goals, drawing an ejection, and creating an assist to teammate Cap #16.

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Victorious Kahuka players hoist the OIA Team Championship Plaque.

From the Roosevelt Rough Riders, Head Coach Sue Nishioka summed it up the same, “As a team, we weren’t ‘hungry enough’ to win. Perhaps it was because we finished the regular season undefeated…” (I agree, after both of these perspectives, sometimes perhaps  an early loss helps ‘helps’ mental attitudes and adjustments, who knows?)

“In our early match against them, we swam and pressed harder and created a lot of confusion against both their offense and defense — not this time.”

  • Kahuku     3-1-2-2 = 8
  • Roosevelt 0-2-3-1 = 6

Third Place Game: Kaiser 7-4 over Kalani

Kaiser was anxious to rebound from the previous day, and the inspired players felt they needed to take on and upset the higher seeded Kalani team. Kalani’s Lisa Namatame and Charity Lopes had 2 goals each, but they were overshadowed by Kaiser Cougar Ana Alambaugh’s 3 along with 4 other individual goal scorers.

  • Kaiser  1-3-2-1 = 7
  • Kalani  2-1-1-0 = 4

Fifth Place Game: Kapolei 12-4 over Waialua

Similarly, Kapolei rebounded from the previous day and also found an exhausted Waialua team that had been tested to the limit by both Kalani and Leilehua. For the winners, Mailani Wendt scored 7 goals and Annika Slattery scored 4.

  • Kapolei  3-2-4-3 = 12
  • Waialua  2-1-0-1 =  4

Friday, Semi-Finals Day

Semi-2: Kahuku 16-5 over Kalani

The nightcap featured two qualifiers that had waited more than an hour late (due to the earlier Overtime game) than their scheduled start time. Izzy Walker led all scorers for the night with 6 goals and her teammate/team Captain Indie Pyzel netted 4, as did Kalani’s stellar player, Charity Lopes.

  • Kahuku 4-5-4-3 = 16
  • Kalani    1-2-0-2 =  5

Semi-1: Roosevelt 9-4 over Kaiser

Third game for the day, also delayed due to the earlier OT reported below, featured two teams — and sets of fans — hungry to have their girls attain the finals, Kaiser and Roosevelt. Ana Alumbaugh had 2 scores to go with Lara Yasumi’s lone goal for Kaiser, but they were overshadowed by Taylor Brooks’ 5 goals and all-around Roosevelt team play.

  • Roosevelt 5-3-1-0 = 9
  • Kaiser       2-0-0-2 = 4

State Qualifier-6: Wailua 5-4 over Leilehua (7 Overtimes)

Of all the games in the tournament, this one was the most amazing! (b~note: two or three times before, I’ve seen boys and girls high school games go 9 periods, that’s 4 quarters, 2 overtime periods, and 3 sudden victory/aka sudden death periods, but never a total of 11 periods.)

In this case, the scoring by periods appeared like this in a box score:

  • Waialua  2-0-0-1-1-0-0-0-0-0-0-1 = 5
  • Leilehua 1-1-0-1-0-1-0-0-0-0-0-0 = 4

The Leilehua Mules’ goalie, Chyel Palmer, and the Waialua Bulldogs’ goalie, Jordan Bjur, had been phenomenal in holding off their opponents with save after save, 8 shutout periods each while keeping the scores low the other handful of periods. At :50+ seconds into the 11th period, following a Waialua steal and pass-back to #1, goalkeeper Bjur, tossed a long ball to a seemingly wide open #9, counterattacker Megan McHale, but the pass was short and McHale had to go back for it with the threat of Leilehua steal. Under that pressure, McHale chose to shoot early from seven meters and scored the game winner with 2:03 to play — in the eleventh and last period! Whew. Finally. “Hat’s off” to all players from all teams — those in the game and those in the next two semi-final games who waited and watched about an hour longer than all were expecting!

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Seven-overtime winning goal scorer, Megan McHale, and coach, Todd Sells, are congratulated at game’s end.

State Qualifier-5: Kapolei 9-5 over Campbell

First game of the afternoon pitted five-seed Kapolei against eight-seed Campbell, with the latter putting up numbers only slightly less than their opponent, in a valiant effort to stay close, only to fall short and allow Kapolei to remain in familiar waters qualifying for the HHSAA Championships. Annika Slattery scored 5 goals for Kapolei, but she had help from Devan Fenumiai and Mailani Wendt, who put in 1 goal each along with 2 assists each.

  • Kapolei     3-3-2-1 = 9
  • Campbell  1-1-1-2 = 5
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Early evening sprint at Central Oahu Regional Park Patsy Mink Pool.

Thursday, Qualification Day

As each of the below HS Teams win, they’re in!

State Qualifier-4: Kaiser 8, Kapolei 4

Kaiser’s Lara Yasumi had 4 and Ana Alumbaugh had 3 goals for the Cougars in the nightcap game.

State Qualifier-3: Kalani 9, Waialua 5

Lisa Namatame had 5 goals for the winners.

State Qualifier-2: Kahuku 15, Leilehua 1

Kahuku’s Indie Pyzel led all scorers with 4, but her teammates Kiki Saker and Izzy Walker had  a hat-trick (3) each.

State Qualifier-1: Roosevelt 16, Campbell 4

Roosevelt’s Taylor Brooks had 5 and Laura Young had 4 goals in leading the Rough Riders to the early victory.

(b~note = blogger note from your editor)

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