Kamehameha, Kahuku advance to title game
By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Kyle Sakamoto
Kamehameha girls water polo coach Danielle Mulford gathers her team before matches and has each player say something positive about the teammate sitting next to her.
The Warriors no doubt will have plenty of good things to say to one another prior to today's championship match of the Local Motion/HHSAA Girls Water Polo State Championships.
Top-seeded Kamehameha dismantled its second consecutive tournament opponent yesterday, beating Roosevelt, 17-2, in the semifinals at Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex.
In today's final, Kamehameha (10-1) will play Kahuku (15-0), which defeated Hilo, 7-3, in yesterday's second semifinal.
Karie Nickle scored five goals and Kiane Taparra, Liz Hanohano-Hong, Hanalei Crowell and Ashlee Akeo added two apiece for Kamehameha, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion.
The Warriors forced numerous turnovers and got open looks in front of the goal against Roosevelt (12-3), the O'ahu Interscholastic Association runner-up.
"My team had a great time playing today," Mulford said. "They went out hard and did the job. They played with lots of spirit and I'm proud and honored to be a part of their program."
Kamehameha was up 14-0 before Roosevelt scored with 3:58 left in the game on a power-play goal by junior Lana Dang.
Roosevelt had seven shots hit off the post in the match.
"We had chances to score, we just failed to connect," Roosevelt coach Susan Nishioka said.
Mulford, who played water polo at the University of Hawai'i from 2001-05, is in her first year as the Warriors' coach.
She is big on "team bonding," according to Nickle.
In pregame meetings, Mulford said: "We make sure we have a meeting where we tell each other positive things before every game. Something about the girl next to you she does really well, or something she does for you as a friend or a teammate."
Mulford also likes to have pregame meals "a good two hours before matches, something healthy, just a snack."
After yesterday's victory, Mulford said the team was going to stay overnight at a hotel and "play games and charades." The arrangements were made by a parent of one of the players, according to Mulford.
On Thursday, Kamehameha routed Kamehameha-Hawai'i in the opening round, 19-5.
ROOSEVELT (12-3) 0 0 0 2— 2
KAMEHAMEHA (10-1) 5 4 3 5—17
Roosevelt: Lana Dang, Marissa Young. Kamehameha: Karie Nickle 5, Kiane Taparra 2, Liz Hanohano-Hong 2, Hanalei Crowell 2, Ashlee Akeo 2, Nanea Fujiyama 1, Mahinamele Reyes 1, Hannah Thomas 1, Seanna Peper-Jordan 1.
HILO (12-2) 1 1 0 1—3
KAHUKU (15-0) 3 2 1 1—7
Hilo: Kaipo McKeague, Molly Mermel, Dana Goya. Kahuku: Gina Ahue 5, Meme Moody 1, Minnie Whitford 1.
LAHAINALUNA (9-2) 3 2 2 1— 8
KAMEHAMEHA-HAWAI'I (9-5) 5 2 3 3—13
Lahainaluna: Hailey Gill 3, Mariah Gill 2, Moana Tuipulotu, Jocelyn Belden, Amanda Miller. KS-Hawai'i: Kanoe Lyons 8, Sydney Lyons 3 Rachel Laeha 1, Hannah Van De Car 1.
KAPOLEI (12-4) 2 2 1 0—5
KALANI (9-7) 0 0 0 1—1
Kapolei: Ashlei Salas-Selem 3, Meredith Egloria 1, Nicole Hagi 1. Kalani: Jennifer Noborikawa.
Reach Kyle Sakamoto at email@example.com.