Girls HS Water Polo All-America Teams posted on KAI~Sports website!

June 27, 2016

After a little under two months of deliberation by the Sports Coordinators, 2015-2016 is now “on the web” for Girls High School Water Polo — highlighting players, high schools and cities in California and Hawai’i.

As some data (class years, name spelling, for instance) is incorrect, please email to ensure accuracy. Also, CIF-SS Divisions are notorious for leaving out “Goalkeeper” annotations, so please let us know those corrections as well.

kai LogoThis year was truly a blessing for me to be able to attend more Sections and Divisions than ever before covering Fall, Winter, Spring seasons — so I had a great cross-sectional view of many players. That said, I strongly feel that the Top Ten, 160 players, and Honorable Mention, 240+ players, is one of our best classes of elite representation in California and Hawai’i — which especially solidifies and confirms this 10th Year of compiling the Kai~Sports Cal-HI girls high school water polo rankings.

New High Schools (those never represented with a player or more) were evident 2015-2016 as with the past few school years. For the record, 16 new to the rankings, with the following first-ever Athletes from their school to be named KAI~Cal HI All-American:

  • American HS (CIF-NCS), Fremont CA, Senior Goalkeeper Lydia Dadd
  • American Canyon HS (CIF-SJS), Napa CA, Allison Dugdole
  • Bear Creek HS (SJS), Stockton CA, Jr Jenna Collins, League MVP
  • Concord HS (NCS), Concord CA, Junior Karlee Kronquist
  • Cupertino HS (CIF-CCS), Cupertino CA, Junior Anna Rajaratnam
  • Enochs HS (SJS), Modesto CA, Averi Peterson, League MVP
  • Florin HS (SJS), Sacramento CA, Amaya Palmer, League MVP
  • Fremont HS (CCS), Oakland CA, Senior Carmen Steinmeier
  • Golden Valley HS (SJS), Merced CA, Sr Marissa Wynn, League MVP
  • Liberty HS (NCS), Brentwood CA, Senior Lindsey Heaney (there is also a Liberty HS in Bakersfield CA)
  • Rancho Cucamonga HS (CIF-SS), Rancho Cucamonga, Senior Denise Mammolito
  • Schurr HS (SS), Montebello CA, Senior April Alvarez and Junior Jassmine Kezman
  • Sonora HS (SJS, City of Sonora, not to be confused with the SS school from La Habra SS), Juniors Josie Personius and Samantha Slater
  • South Pasadena HS (SS), Pasadena CA, Freshman Sydney Shettleroe
  • Westridge HS (SS), Pasadena CA, Juniors Georgia Bogle, Kira O’Donnell and Ava Whist
  • Woodside HS (CCS), Woodside CA, Freshman Goalkeeper Maya Srinivasan

All of the above are from California, but that doesn’t mean that Hawai’i is not growing. My recent trip to Hawai’i showed me that there are more players than ever playing polo in the Islands. And, on those years I get to Hawai’i for the two championship weeks, I usually finish these lists a few weeks early…unfortunately, not this year, since my wife, Shelley, and I went to the remote coast of Oregon for two weeks, losing valuable internet connectivity.

But what we did gain in working with our friend, Laura Robinson, (see “Soles 4 Hope” blogsite), were many of God’s blessings in the small 1/24th portion that we could join her on her border-to-border mission. (Be sure to check her blog about her Canada-to-Mexico trip down US 101.) We sincerely hope that you all are blessed this year as much as we were and still are.


Kelly Kemp, Kai~Sports, at Umpqua River Lighthouse, Oregon, June 2016

2016 HHSAA Championships, 4

May 11, 2016

4-7 May 2016 — the extended weekend concludes the Girls High School Water Polo in the state of Hawai’i with the annual state tournament, the Stanford-Carr Development/ Hawai’i High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) State Championships. First off, let me give recognition to great tournament organization, starting with the host schools, who contributed many folks, and key personnel: Mark Brilhante, Kaleheo Athletic Director, Fred Lee, Kaimuki Athletic Director, Wendell Look,’Iolani Athletic Director, and Daniel Arakaki, University of Hawai’i; secondly, the officials desk staff: Head Timer Chelsey Kekahuna-Kalaukoa, Scorekeepers Corey Fellezs, Kandelle Khimi and Nathan Higa; thirdly the Referees: Keahou Chang, Grace Chen, Mike Klaus, Sydney Lyons, Jimmy Martindale, Danny Pollard, Brendan Shum, Gregg Wong and Michelle Wong. These thanks are echoed from all, but specifically documented from your two announcers, Kelly Kemp and Lee Young-Kingsbury.

Below is the reverse chronological order summary of games for Day 4:

Saturday, State Finals

The final game was opened with much fanfare. Kamehameha Senior Co-Captain Courtney Quiamzon led all attendees with an outstanding rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, then followed that up singing the State song, Hawai’i Pono ‘I.


Courtney Quiamzon sings prior to the Championhip Finals.

Game 18, Championship Game, #1 Punahou 9-1 over KS-Kapalama

The two tournament undefeated teams lined up for introductions.


Punahou, dark caps, faces Kamehameha-Kapalama, white caps, in Gold Medal game.

Kamehameha School-Kapalama put up a great defense in the first half, led by steals from Payton Bosque, Keylee Leong and La’akea Dedrick, along with field blocks by Leong and Kaylen Nitahara, only to fall behind Punahou 4-0 at the half. And, despite the 11 saves and 2 steals in stellar goalkeeping from Jordan Ehara, Punahou outscored Kam 5-1 in the second half behind Marissa Anne Miller and Natassia Dunn, 3 each, Saki Migliorato, 2, and Micaela Kauhane. Goalkeeper Emalia Eichelberger was again phenomenal — only one sneaking in — with 6 blocks, 1 assist to counterattacking Miller.


Punahou’s Micaela Kauhane rears to shoot.

Interviewing the ‘three amigos’ Seniors — Dunn, Eichelberger, Migliorato — they exclaimed (at post-game party) that “were glad it’s over (successfully with 4 state titles/undefeated at state tournament in 4 years)!” and “we’re really looking forward to college! (UCLA, Stanford, Georgetown Universities, respectively)!” Congratulations, ladies, and best wishes for college! (b~note: my daughter, UCLA alum/club polo player Chelsea, and I were fortunate to attend not only the games, but the celebration dinner afterwards…)

  • Punahou         2-2-4-1 = 9
  • KS-Kapalama 0-0-1-0 = 1

Nine-consecutive State Championship winning Coach Ken Smith addresses Punahou players.

Game 17, 3rd Place Game, #2 Kahuku 8-5 against Roosevelt


Ava Countryman scores on backhand,  one of her 4 goals.

For the second time in two weeks, Kahuku outlasted arch-rival Roosevelt to best their annual series, 2 out of 3. (b~note: Roosevelt won the regular season game and championship earlier, but Kahuku won the OIA Championship finals tournament game.)

Kahuku took the early lead with steals from Delilah Tea and Sophia Wilson leading to counterattack goals by Ava Countryman and Tea, respectively. In the second quarter, Roosevelt tied the game twice, first at 2-2, as Rayna Miranda was assisted by Sarah Yasuda followed by Laura Young being assisted by Taylor Brooks; Tea had another steal with an assist to Wilson for a short-lived lead, then April Gomes tied up the game with an outside shot, again short-lived, as Kahuku Captain India Pyzel found Keana Kunz with a picture perfect pass for Kunz’ only goal on a beautifully executed lob goal.

In the second half, Kahuku blew the game open with three successive counterattacks, led by Pyzel, 4 total assists, Countryman and Isabella Walker, before Countryman finished the scoring with a crisp backhand shot.

  • Kahuku     2-2-3-1 = 8
  • Roosevelt 0-3-0-2 = 5

Goalkeeper Noa Cravens had 7 saves and 2 steals in a Hawaii State Bronze Medal triumph for the Kahuku Red Raiders.

Game 16, 5th Place Game, KS-Hawaii 11-10 versus Lahainaluna (Overtime)

Kamehameha School-Hawaii fell behind early  to the Lunas, but bounced back in the second quarter to tie 4-4 at half and 10-10 at regulation. High scorer for KS (and game MVP) was Katelynn Kubo,  5 goals 4 steals 2 draws 1 field block, with Alyssa Pelanca, 4 goals, Lahela Rosario, Trinity Alameda, 1 goal each.

Just one goal behind was Lahainaluna, with goals from Julia Bianco and Lalelei Mataafa, 3 each, and Nikki Zamani and Alicia Wintermeyer, 2 each.

  • KS-Hawaii   0-4-4-2-1 = 11
  • Lahainaluna 3-1-4-2-0 = 10

Kamehameha’s Alyssa Pelanca shoots the game-winning penalty in OT.

Game 15, Consolation Championship, Hawaii Prep defeated Kalani, 5-3


HPA takes a time out.

In a tightly contested match at the start of Finals Day, the Hawaii Preparatory Academy hung on to upset favored Kalani High School in this low-scoring game.

For the winners, Goalie Ala Taylor had 6 saves and Taylor Doherty had 3 steals and a field block, Erin Evans, 3 steals, Kira Parker, 2 steals, Co-Capt Louisa Duggan, 2 steals, and Co-Capt Elizabeth Jim, 1 steal on defense — but their real story was extra-player advantages. Doherty, Evans, Duggan and Janelle Laros drew critical ejections — and the result was 3 goals and 2 assists for Laros, 1 goal and 2 assists for Duggan, and 1 goal for Doherty to go with her winning all four sprints!

On the losing side, Co-Captain Seniors Erika Kim, 2 goals 1 field block, and Lisa Namatame, 1 goal 1 assist 1 steal, had fine games on offense, but it just wasn’t enough firepower. As for Kalani defense, Junior Goalkeeper Mika O’Shea had a phenomenal game, 16 saves, 2 steals and 1 assist.

  • HPA    1-2-0-2 = 5
  • Kalani 1-1-0-1 = 3

Kalani’s Mika O’Shea makes a spectacular save. Photos by Chelsea Kemp

2016 HHSAA Championships, 3

May 11, 2016

Below is the reverse chronological order summary of games for Day 3:

Friday, Semi-Finals

Game 14 Semi-2, KS-Kapalama 5-2 versus #2 Kahuku

This defensive struggle was definitely a highlight of the tournament, with both teams playing their hearts out in an attempt to secure a berth in the State Finals. In the first half, the teams were each trying to get the upper hand, with neither giving more than an inch or two — with opportunities few and far between — but those small inches seemed to be going Kamehameha School’s way as each of Kahuku’s finishing touches missed their marks. Midway through the third quarter, in fact, it was a meager 1-point lead.

Enter Junior 2-Meter Player #17 Kaylen Nitahara, who, late in the third quarter, had a breakout moment. First, her assist to La’akea Dedrick  inspired the crowd… Next, after a quick turnover, it was followed by the player-advantage-goal that she rifled into the net for an almost insurmountable 4-1 lead.

According to Nitahara, “We’re a second half team. By then we have adjusted to the refs and the other team. We reminded ourselves of that. If they get a score, we know we’ll get it right back. And then our defense will take over.”

And it did. Senior Jordan Ehara, Goalkeeper, had eleven saves, five on Kahuku extra-player advantages, two on off-speed lobs, and one on a stellar 1-v-1 block against star Red Raider India Pyzel.

“I get fired up. No way I’m gonna let my Team down. I know they all count on me. So I don’t let down,” commented Ehara, post-game.  Excellent Team defense indeed.

  • KS-Kap 1-1-2-1 = 5
  • Kahuku 1-0-0-1 = 2

University of Hawai’i’s Duke Kahanamoku Pool

Game 13, Semi-1, #1 Punahou 17-2 over Roosevelt

Punahou’s starting seven,  Natasha Dunn, Micaela Kauhane, Marissa Anne Miller, Saki Migliorato, Malia Gacutan and Danielle Kauahi and GK Emalia Eichelberger (GK), dominated their second opponent in as many days. Although Eichelberger was only threatened three times, she still came away with three clean saves. On the scoring half of the ledger, all starters scored, leading with Miller, 5, Dunn and Migliorato, 3 each,  Gacutan, Kauhane, and finishing off with spares Robbie Bickerton and Danielle Kaya, 1 each. Scoring was set up with steals by Dunn and Eichelberger, 2 each, Bickerton, Lee and Migliorato, 1 each, as well as quicktime assists from Dunn, 3, Eichelberger, Kauahi and Miller, 1 each. (b~note: Eichelberger had 4-5 ‘on-the-money’ passes to teammates on lead break, one of which, to Migliorato, ended in a score, with 2 others leading to assists.)

“We practice fundamentals. Our game plan is to stick with those fundamentals.  We’re coached to keep balanced no matter who’s in. For this game, after the first quarter, we kept with two starters along with rotating in everyone for the next three quarters in order to stay/keep consistent,” #8 Marissa Anne Miller, Junior Attacker, who started with an assist to #3 Senior Dunn to open the scoring. After that, total balance. Total domination.

  • Punahou   6-3-4-4 = 17
  • Roosevelt 0-0-1-1 =   2

Game 12, #4 Lahainaluna 10-7 against Kaiser

Even though Kaiser’s Senior Co-Capt Ana Alumbaugh finished with 4 goals and 3 steals, it still wasn’t enough to overcome the ‘Lunas’ Senior Co-Capt Lalelei Mataafa’s 7 goals and a steal along with the great game of the other Senior Co-Capt Haleigh Berko, 4 steals, Junior Julia Bianco, 7 steals 3 assists 2 field blocks, and Junior Alicia Wintermeyer, 3 goals 1 assist 1 steal.

  • Kaiser          2-3-2-0 =  7
  • Lahainaluna 4-2-4-0 = 10

Game 11, #3 KS-Hawaii defeated Baldwin, 10-8

Kamehameha School Senior Katelynn Kubo led all scorers with 5 goals 2 assists 3 steals, when coupled with Senior Alyssa Pelanca, 2 goals 1 assist, came back from a 3-6 halftime deficit to outscore Baldwin 7-2 in the second half, despite the Baldwin efforts from Senior Kendra Bean, 4 goals 2 assists, and Sophomore Rebecca Buenrostro Gallimore, 3 goals 4 sprints won.

  • KS-Hawaii 1-2-3-3 = 10
  • Baldwin     3-3-0-2 =   8

Game 10, Consolation, Kalani 10-3 over Kapolei

Even though Kapolei could muster up a stong showing from Juniors Annika Slattery, 2 goals, and Mailani Wendt, 6 steals 1 assist, Kalani was stronger with Senior Tri-Captains Lisa Namatame, 6 goals, Erika Kim, 2 goals 2 assists, Allisa Takahashi, 2 draws 1 assist, and Junior Charity Lopes, 1 goal 2 assists. Kalani Goalkeeper Mika O’Shea was the ‘hottest of the day’ up to that point with 12 saves 2 steals.

  • Kapolei 0-1-2-0 =   3
  • Kalani   2-2-2-4 = 10

2016 HHSAA Championships, 2

May 11, 2016

Below is the reverse chronological order summary of games for Day 2:

Thursday, Second Round

Game 9, #1 Punahou 18-4 over Kaiser

Punahou’s starting seven of Emalia Eichelberger (GK), Robbie Bickerton, Micaela Kauhane, Marissa Anne Miller, Saki Migliorato, Malia Gacutan and Danielle Kauahi pounded out a early 8-0 lead then cruised to the win over Kaiser in the final game of the evening. There were no game MVPs, just all-around outstanding Team play!  Migliorato had 5 goals for the ‘BuffanBlu,’ with Bickerton, Kauhane and Miller all scoring before reserves Natassia Dunn, Kaya Lee, Madison Meister and Daralyn Wen came in off the bench to score. Kaiser’s ‘starters’ didn’t start until the second half to rest up, but surprised Punahou with Seniors Lara Yasume winning two sprints and two steals and Ana Alumbaugh scoring 2 goals to go along with an assist and a steal to make a dent in Punahou’s armor.

  • Punahou 8-0-4-6 = 18
  • Kaiser     0-0-3-1 =  4

Game 8, KS-Kapalama 14-6 over #3 seed KS-Hawai’i

Although the Big Island top-seeded squad held tough the first half, they were overshadowed by tougher Team play in the second, as Kamehameha School-Kapalama, Oahu, handled the course of the game well, putting them in to the second Semi, and positioning them for a run to the final. Payton Bosque and Kaylen Nitahara led the Oahu group with 3 each, with 2 goals contributed by Kayla Aloiau-Hose, Monet Bisch, and Keylee Leong. Co-Captains Katelynn Kubo 3, and Alyssa Pelanca 2, contributed for the Big Island contingent.

  • KS-Hawaii       2-2-0-2 =  6
  • KS-Kapalama 4-2-3-5 = 14

Game 7, #2 Kahuku 9-5 over Baldwin

Kahuku used a strong game from Senior Team Captain Indie Pyzel, 4 goals, 2 draws, 2 steals and an assist, coupled with overall Team play from Ava Countryman 2 assists and 1 goal, Sophia Wilson 2 steals and 1 goal, and Isabella Walker 4 assists 2 goals and 1 steal, to name a few, to overcome Baldwin of Maui and advance to Semi-2. Kendra Bean, 2 goals 1 assist, and Rebecca Buenrostro Gallimore, 2 goals, 2 steals, 4 sprints won, led the Baldwin effort. Note here that, although Baldwin goalie Kiara Espeleta only had five saves in ~three quarters, near the end of the third, she cleanly blocked Attacker Izzy Walker’s 1-v-1 counter. Kahuku Goalkeeper Noa Cravens also had a stellar game with 5 clean saves, 1 steal, and 1 long-ball-assist to Wilson’s counterattack goal.And one more note, the two referees for this game, Sydney Lyons and Greg Wong, went above and beyond in calling a great game under intense pressure.

  • Kahuku  2-1-2-4 = 9
  • Baldwin 2-0-2-1 = 5

Game 6, Roosevelt 10-9 (3OT) over #4 Lahainaluna

Highly agree with Honolulu Star-Advertiser writer Brian McInnis that the matchup between Maui’s top team and the OIA runner-up is the “game of the tournament” so far. Both teams handled adverse situations well, and referees Keahou Chang and Grace Chen maintained discipline in the pool by calling an outstanding game.

In the first half, the Riders took it to the Lunas, with assists and goals by Taylor Brooks, April Gomes, Rayna Miranda, Sarah Yasuda, and Laura Young… then they went flat losing Brooks to three major fouls, and Luna Co-Capt Lalelei Mataafa started her scoring spree with the first five of her goals. Regulation time found a 6-6 tie. In OT1, Julia Bianco and Nikki Zamani scored, both assisted by Mataafa, but the Rough Riders answered with a Gomes’ field block followed by her assist to Miranda. In OT2, a Yasuda to Young pass for a drive-in goal tied the score, only to have Mataafa rifle in a skim shot from long range. At critical time of the last possession, Yasuda drew an ejection, got the ball to Young and back for a goal. At the end of two overtime periods, scores were a level 9-9. Enter golden goal/aka sudden victory. On the first Roosevelt possession, again late in the possession, Yasuda drew another kickout, creating a new shot clock and new hope. This time, she picked up the ball herself and found teammate Miranda who fired in the game winner!

Interviewing Yasuda and Young post-game, yours truly inquired about several things, the first being game strategy. They both chirped in, “Watch #4 (Mataafa). Stay on her tight.” Secondly what did your coach, Sue Nishioka say at the end of regulation? Again, both simultaneously, “You have to really want it!” Third thing, any change in strategy? “No, but a reminder to ‘just keep moving’ (to draw an advantage).” Indeed they did, advancing to the final four!

  • Lahainaluna  1-1-1-3-2-1-0 =  9
  • Roosevelt     2-3-1-0-1-2-1 = 10

Lahainaluna’s Alicia Wintermeier wins the sprint against Roosevelt’s Taylor Brooks.

On the loosing side, Juniors Sydney Wagner had a great game with 8 blocks, as did Julia Bianco with 8 steals and an overtime goal; to repeat, Mataafa had 6 goals, her final tally in OT2 put her team up 9-8, setting the stage for Roosevelt’s heroics.

Game 5, Consolation, Hawaii Prep 7-2 over Waialua

Hawaii Preparatory Academy from the Big Island jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter and a 7-0 lead before Waialua avoided the shutout behind goals from Senior Co-Capt Gabriella Delgado and Junior Megan McHale. Leading scorers from Hawaii Prep were Senior Co-Capt Elizabeth Jim, Junior Janelle Laros and Sophomore Kira Parker with 2 goals each. Jordyn Bjur had a big game in goal for the Bulldogs with 9 blocks.

  • HPA       3-2-1-1 = 7
  • Waialua 0-0-0-2 = 2

2016 HHSAA Championships, 1

May 11, 2016

Below is the reverse chronological summary of games for Day 1:

Wednesday, First Round

Game 4, Kamehameha School-Kapalama 11, Kalani 2

Most of the afternoon was rain showers, but it did not muffle the crowd cheers of surprise and awe as Kalani (OIA public school) jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter against the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) private school.  Then tough became tougher as the Warriors starters wore down the Falcons in the second quarter, then  played everyone in the win. Leading scorers: Kam-Kap: Payton Bosque 4, Kaylen Nitahara 4; Kalani: Charity Lopes, Lisa Namatame.

  • KS-Kap   3-6-1-1 = 11
  • Kalani      2-0-0-0 =   2

Game 3, Kaiser 9, Hawaii Preparatory Academy 8

Hawaii Prep (Big Island Interscholastic Federation) attempted to crawl stroke its way back into an apparently lopsided contest against Kaiser (of the OIA), only to fall short at the final buzzer. Leading scorers, Kaiser: Ana Alumbaugh 5; HPA: Erin Evans 2, Janelle Laros 2.

  • HPA    1-3-3-1 = 8
  • Kaiser 6-0-1-2 = 9

Game 2, Baldwin 15, Kapolei 7

Baldwin (Maui Interscholastic League) started out testing the waters, then blew by Kapolei (OIA) in the second quarter with consistent defensive pressure leading to countless counterattacks. Leading scorers, Baldwin: Kendra Bean 4, Rebecca Buenrostro Gallimore 3, Dyllan Cabiles 2; Kapolei: Annika Slattery 3, Jasmine Palumbo 2, Mailani Wendt 2.

  • Baldwin 2-9-2-2 = 15
  • Kapolei  2-0-2-3 =   7

Game 1, Roosevelt 14, Waialua 4

Roosevelt dominated the all-OIA clash by jumping out to a large lead, then continuing their scoring output versus Waialua. Leading scorers, Roosevelt: Taylor Brooks 7, Laura Young 4; Waialua: Gabriella Delgado 2.

  • Roosevelt 5-3-2-4 = 14
  • Waialua    1-0-1-2 =   4

(b~note, i.e., blogger~note: as always, first cuts are abbreviated to get info online rapidly, so please stay tuned as additional details & comments are added, including images, for clarity & completeness… my current style is to use reverse chronological order to better document these events in a way that many have told me is more meaningful and reflective… thanks for your patience in reading & reviewing, sincerely, your blogger & editor)

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

May 1, 2016

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.


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.


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!


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

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)

2016 CIF-SDS Finals

February 28, 2016

Saturday, February 27, was a great day for CIF Finals in Girls Water Polo, both in the Southern Section (SS) and the San Diego Section (SDS). Although I would like to have been able to report on both, no such luck, but it was a pleasure to be in La Jolla at the Coggin Family Aquatic Center —  a beautiful setting to crown four SDS Champions, two of whom I witnessed, in order to evaluate teams and players — since  I missed those folks earlier in the week of semi-finals.

Division III:

Top two seeds, Hilltop and Serra, were both ready to battle for their respective school’s first-ever CIF titles in Girls Water Polo. From this neutral observer, it appeared that each team had a case of the jitters, but in two different halves of play.

The Hilltop Lancers had a wonderful first half, scoring at will and taking a strong 7-2 lead. Due to great team defense, their goalie, Daniela Diaz-Grade, had no threats, no saves. The goalkeeper on Serra Conquistadores, Elizabeth Ferreira, on the other hand, was pummeled. Out of eight shots, seven went in and one missed the cage. Goals were scored by the star #2, Sophia Espinoza, who ended with 2 goals, 4 steals, and drew a critical penalty shot, and #9, Senior Priscila Rude, 1 goal, and a second critical penalty shot. The only thing was, along with her 8 saves in the second half, Ferreira blocked both 5-meters as well! And her team scored and scored, with 2 goals each by Tristan Langley and Savana Vander Schuit. Unfortunately for Serra’s second half shutout, the three first half goals by Junior Mildred Monsivias and eight second half saves by Diaz-Grade, sent Serra to Runner-up status, and Hilltop to the Championship.


Hilltop’s #3 Mildred Monsivias scores her third goal on a lob, the eventual game-winner.

Division II:

And what a great game this was! Just like Division III, Division II featured two new teams never having won a CIF Title, Mar Vista and Scripps Ranch. In this case, both teams came out at a top-varsity-level of play the entire game, unlike the DIII contest, which appeared J.V. at times.

Pre-game comments from Scripps Ranch Head Coach, A.J. Farrell: “We’re in the Final. We expected to be here. (Others might not have.) In the Quarter-Finals, we needed to ‘send a message.’ We did. In the Semi-Finals, we needed to remind ourselves, ‘this is our time.’ Now, for the Finals, our players just need to ‘believe in our system.’ (That would be the UCLA Coach John Wooden system of ‘fundamentals, conditioning, teamwork’ — with these three things, teams succeed!)

From the outset of the game, it was apparent that the Scripps Ranch Falcons did believe, jumping out to a 5-1 lead early into the second quarter with 3 goals from Senior Co-Captain Hannah Erbe-Smith and 2 goals and an assist from Junior Set Stephanie Soto, while Senior Goalkeeper Samantha Runyon racked up 7 saves and a long-ball assist to Soto. (Runyon ended up with 12 saves for the match.) Unfortunately, midway through the third, with the Falcons up 6-5, star player Erbe-Smith was ruled out for the remainder of the game on three personal faults, and neither Soto nor Runyon nor the rest of the team, including five more Seniors, could contribute to add points to salvage a win. At that point, the Mar Vista Mariners juggernaut pushed into gear, with Senior Co-Captains #3 backdoor Stephanie Morales, 2 goals, #6 attacker Isabelle Hastings, 3 goals, 3 assists, 4 sprints, leading the way, along with Junior driver Daniele Pena, 2 goals, 2 steals. And let’s not forget the outstanding back line saves by Junior Sarah Carr — ten total, seven in the second half!


Mar Vista Mariners rejoice in their school’s first-ever CIF Water Polo Championship.

Post-game comments from Mar Vista #6, Senior Co-Capt Isabelle Hastings, who had assists to both the game-tying and game-winning goals: “Wow. It’s overwhelming. For five of us, our Senior Year — we achieved out goal! It didn’t matter that we were down early — we came back! (Last year we had made it to Semi-Finals, but missed this opportunity.) We had positive energy. I think it was all of our fans love and encouragement that helped us to continue to play better — then finally win!”

Post-game comments from Mar Vista #20, Junior Daniele Pena, who had the game tying goal in the third quarter: “We did it! This Team accomplished everything we set out to…before the fourth quarter, we just said, ‘this is it. We tied it up in the third. Let’s stick to it and win!'”

For the record, Division I:

Top seed Vista High School (23-9) continued its winning ways by dispatching Fallbrook High School (21-10) by a score of 7-4. Vista Championship goals were scored by Senior Samantha Witt, 3, Juniors Emma Franck, 2, Kaylee Hughes, 2. Fallbrook scoring: MacKenzie Montgomery, 2, Taylor Dowden, 1, Jazmin Patterson, 1.

Also, for the record Open Division:

The Bishop’s School (26-6) beat top seed and cross-town rival La Jolla High School (25-5) in a defensive struggle by a score of 5-4, also earning the school back-to-back CIF-SDS Open Division Championships. (…interesting to note, La Jolla’s defensive strategy was to ‘hold Bishop’s to a handful’ of goals. They did. Sometimes life plays out in similar ways; you do your best, but it is not enough. My hope is all stay positive — and seek the next challenge.)

Goal scorers for Bishop’s: Robyn Carter, 2, Natalie Grayson, Lily Keck, Kayleigh Schultz, 1 each; La Jolla: Ciara Franke, Sydney Boland, Lexi Atwell, Karli Canale, 1 each.

Goalkeeper saves for Bishop’s: Cassidy Ball, 15; La Jolla: Bennett Bugelli, 9.