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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 7, 2010

Lunas in water polo semifinals

By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Relying on a play it had never run before for the eventual game-winning goal, the Lahainaluna girls water polo team returned to the state semifinals.

The Lunas defeated Roosevelt, 6-5, in the quarterfinals of the Girls Water Polo State Championships yesterday afternoon.

"We practiced that play exactly never, so that was great," Lahainaluna coach Will Hutchison said. "That was a play we used to run when I was a kid, but these girls had never seen it before. They are West side Maui kids, so they are up for anything."

Lahainaluna (11-0), Maui Interscholastic League champion, plays Punahou tonight at 7 at the Veterans' Memorial Aquatic Center at the Patsy T. Mink Central O'ahu Regional Park. 'Iolani meets Kahuku in the other semifinal.

Lunas junior Koral Gill scored the go-ahead goal with 25 seconds left in the third quarter, capping off a three-goal surge and giving Lahaina its first lead of the game at 5-4.

Hutchison called a time out just before they play, explaining the strategy to the team.

"I was full of energy when he was talking to me so I wasn't really comprehending what he was saying," Gill said. "Kayla (Wall) drove in ... and I just sprinted my hardest and I just got open water and shot and it worked."

Gill also tied it 4-4 with 1:44 left in the third quarter on a man-up situation for the Lunas.

Junior Kailiponi McGee scored two goals and senior Hoku Keola one as the Rough Riders took a 3-1 first-quarter lead. Wall scored for the Lunas.

Lahainaluna closed to 3-2 on a goal by senior Jenae Kruck with 2:50 left in the second quarter but Keola scored as the buzzer sounded to end the half, putting Roosevelt ahead 4-2.

Lunas senior Kelly Kohls scored with 3:11 remaining in the third quarter to make it 4-3, and Gill scored twice to give the Lunas the lead for good.

"We wanted them to keep their intensity," Roosevelt (13-2) coach Sue Nishioka said. "Lahainaluna kept coming back and then once they tied it up, the face of fear came upon them."

Junior Jessye Acker added a goal for Lahainaluna and McGee scored on a penalty shot for Roosevelt for the final 6-5 score.