KEAAU —The passing was crisp, the nerves were calm and the defense was solid Wednesday night as Kealakehe returned to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association water polo tournament for the first time in four years.
But the Waveriders’ aim was off, and Roosevelt pulled away for a 7-2 victory in a first-round matchup at Naeole Pool.
“If half our shots would have gone into the cage, it would have been a different game,” Kealakehe coach Derek Monell said. “We moved the ball well, the best we’ve done all year. The shots did not go into the cage.”
Only Naomi Tomlinson was exempt from her team’s off-shooting night, scoring both goals for the Big Island Interscholastic Federation runner-up Waveriders (9-4). Mehana Pilago, who tallied a BIIF-high 56 goals this year, was held scoreless for the first time this season.
“It was a normal defense, we just weren’t used to how referees were calling the game and didn’t adjust,” Pilago said. “I’m definitely proud of my team.”
Early in the third quarter, Pilago had a good look in close with a chance to tie the match, but her shot rattled off the crossbar — one of the themes of the night — and harmlessly out of play.
“We beat the crossbar to a pulp,” Monell said.
The Waveriders were in good shape and only trailed 3-2 at the half after Tomlinson ended a three-goal Roosevelt run with her 23rd score of the season late in the second quarter.
But Kealakehe missed all 13 of its shots in the second half.
“We had a lot of good shots, it was more that we just missed the goal,” Pilago said.
Nga Ying Wong and Brianna Bee scored twice for the Rough Riders of the Oahu Interscholastic Association. Roosevelt scored its first four goals with a player advantage after the Waveriders were called for fouls.
At the state level, Monell said, officials allow a fair amount of wrestling if an offensive player has an advantage. But Pilago also said the referees were paying close attention to how she defended.
The senior was only called for one exclusion foul during the season, but she was whistled three times Wednesday night, leading to her first career ejection.
“First time I’ve ever gotten rolled,” she said.
Autumn Akiu, Kapiolani Keola and Kacie Ann Mau also found the net for Roosevelt, which will face No. 2 Kahuku, the OIA champion, at 3:30 p.m. today in the quarterfinals.
After a day off, the Waveriders will try to find the mark at 1 p.m. Friday in a consolation game against Kaiser of the OIA. The Cougars were drilled 18-1 by Iolani in the first round.
Kealakehe’s Marissa Bryant-Manago, who posted six hat tricks during the BIIF season, also had her fair amount of chances in the loss.
“We did everything we asked of them,” Monell said. “It just didn’t go in.”
Mililani 8, Leilehua 4
Ashley Morea scored four times as the Trojans downed their OIA rival. Mililani advances to face BIIF champion Kamehameha (12-0), the fourth seed, in a 6 p.m. quarterfinal match today.
The Mules got goals from four different players and will face Baldwin in a 1 p.m. consolation match today.
Iolani 18, Kaiser 1
Melisa Kegans led an onslaught with five goals for the Interscholastic League of Honolulu runner-up Red Raiders, who draw No. 3 Lahainaluna at 2:15 p.m. today on the quarterfinals.
Kapolei 8, Baldwin 2
Mailani Wendt recorded a hat trick for the OIA Hurricanes, who draw sixth-time state champion Punahou at 4:45 p.m. today in the quarterfinals.