Leilehua tops HPA in state water polo
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
Leilehua goalie Abbey Serrone turned out to be one of the biggest offensive weapons yesterday.
Serrone's accurate passes sparked six fast-break goals as the Mules beat Hawai'i Prep, 11-4, for their first opening-round win in the Girls Water Polo State Championships.
Leilehua (11-3), the third-place team of the O'ahu Interscholastic Association, plays top-seeded and two-time defending state champion Punahou (8-0) tonight at 7 at the Veterans' Memorial Aquatic Center at the Patsy T. Mink Central O'ahu Regional Park.
"(Serrone is) the reason we're at where we are at," Leilehua coach Nathan Higa said of his goalie, who recorded 11 saves. "She has a good arm and she plays heads up. She understands the game so she knows where to pass it and when to pass it.
"When the goalie can block a shot and get the ball down the court, then you can run your fast break."
It was an added dimension Ka Makani rarely see in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation.
"They are a fast team ... they got a number of two-on-nobodys or two-on-ones," said Hawai'i Prep coach Tanya Everts, whose team fell to 6-7. "In our league, we have very few goalies who can make those passes accurately."
The Mules scored twice in the first quarter on goals by junior McKenna Shounk off passes from Serrone. Leilehua's defense forced outside shots by Ka Makani, allowing Serrone to throw the ball out to the opposite end of the pool to Shounk.
"We really count on her because we know she can make the long passes and make it really accurate," Shounk said. "That's why we fast break a lot. We know she can get it to us."
Mules sophomore Aundrea Vidal and junior Maxine Cowper scored in the second quarter for a 4-0 halftime lead. Leilehua scored two goals in the first minute of the second half by juniors Brooke Sweeney and Kendyll Barnett.
Hawai'i Prep scored its first goal on junior Alohi Nakachi's shot that glanced off the left goalpost. Sweeney countered 16 seconds later. Ka Makani junior Madi DiZinno and senior Bridget Walker scored the final two goals of the third quarter for a 7-3 score.
Leilehua scored four of the five goals in the fourth quarter.