HHSAA water polo: Kamehameha falls to physical Mililani in quarters
KEAAU — Kamehameha-Hawaii brought a roster of scoring balance, and an impressive league resume of five straight undefeated seasons to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state water polo tournament.
It wasn’t enough.
Mililani played much cleaner ball and defeated the Warriors 16-13 in the quarterfinals Thursday night at Naeole Pool, playing a physical defense unseen in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation.
“Our girls don’t have the experience for that type of pressure or have been in that type of situation,” Kamehameha coach Dan Lyons said. “We were very excited and nervous. We had a lot of opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of.
“We drew 17 exclusion (fouls) on them and that’s great. Their physicality didn’t bother us. But when we weren’t patient we couldn’t score when we were a man up. When we were patient, we got the ball in the net a few times.”
Mililani (15-2) advances to the semifinals to play six-time defending champion Punahou (8-0) at 6 p.m. today.
Kamehameha (12-1) plays Kapolei (14-4) at 3:30 p.m. today in a consolation game.
The five-time BIIF champion Warriors are now 1-4 in their past five opening games at states; in 2011, they beat Mililani 19-8 but lost to Punahou 22-9 in the semifinals at Naeole Pool.
History couldn’t repeat itself for the Warriors, who staged a late rally behind Halia Nahale-a’s three goals in the second half.
Acacia Trusdell scored five goals, including three in the first quarter, Nahale-a had three, Chloe Martins-Kelilihoomalu and Katelynn Kubo had two each and Pua Wong had one for Kamehameha, which trailed 10-6 at halftime.
Chanel Long scored six goals, including three in the first quarter, and Dru Daley had four to spark the Trojans. Kaylie Miyashita, Chloe Long, Kylie Tom and Jordan Robinson added one each.
The stats revealed Mililani’s aggression on defense with 16 exclusion penalties. Kamehameha was called for four.
But other issues plagued the Warriors, who had too many turnovers that either led to empty possessions or fast-break opportunities for the Trojans. Mililani’s goalie Sara Fisk threw long passes to ignite a few scores, beating Kamehameha’s defenders in transition — similar to layups in basketball.
“The one positive we can take away from the game is there’s no quit in the girls,” Lyons said. “They kept fighting and got better and better and made it a three-point game.”