Playing host can be a mixed blessing.
If you’re an active participant in an event you’re putting on — like Kamehameha is for this year’s Stanford Carr Development/HHSAA Girls Water Polo State Championships — it can be an added level of stress heaped on a pile of worries dividing your attention.
On the other hand, you have the advantage of playing on your home turf. In this case, in your home pool. (And back to the first hand, that can be construed as pressure.)
“I think we’re ready to accept it,” Warriors coach Randy Bart said after his team’s first-round game Monday.
Kamehameha looked right at home, chiefly because it WAS home on the Kapalama Heights. The ILH runner-up Warriors made short work of Moanalua, the OIA’s fifth-place team, 16-2, and advanced to an unusual quarterfinal against No. 3 overall seed Kahuku, the nine-time defending OIA champ.
The Warriors and Red Raiders, who meet up at Kamehameha on Thursday, were semifinal foes the last three years. Each of those battles went to the Warriors (Kahuku’s lone state tournament win over an ILH team came in the 2013 semis against ‘Iolani).
“That’s going to be big. Kahuku and their Red Raider Nation. It’s going to be loud and emotional. A good environment, I think,” Bart said.
Baldwin, which this year got the nod for the No. 2 overall seed (the spot traditionally occupied by Kahuku) beat the Red Raiders in a non-league preseason game and ran the table in the MIL. Both factors convinced the tournament committee to make some changes to the bracket.
The Bears, who’ve never made a water polo final four, loom as a potential semifinal foe.
Then there’s the theoretical championship Saturday against the Buffanblu, who are unblemished (36-0) all-time in the state tournament, having failed to qualify only in 2006 and 2007 in the days that the ILH got only one berth. They were unseated at the league level, one time each, by ‘Iolani and Kamehameha. Since then it’s been all Punahou all the time. Eleven championships in a row.
“I told the girls, we gotta knock out some No. 1s this week (seeded teams) to be state champs,” Bart said. “So, doesn’t matter who it is. We got a bunch of No. 1s to go through.”
Towering freshman Shaye Story led the Warriors with four goals on Monday. Emma Kim added three and Laakea Dedrick two.
It was the response Bart was looking for after Kamehameha lost handily to Punahou in the league title game almost two weeks ago.
“We got spanked, 9-1, a couple weeks ago. So we’ve been working on some different things. So far, so good. Some things on defense, offense. … You always, to me, want to start with defense. So that was the mind-set going into the game, for sure.”
Isabella McRae and Madison Komatsu had the goals for Na Menehune.
In the other first-round game at Kamehameha on Monday, Kaiser defeated Kapolei 7-1 in an all-OIA affair. Kaiser advanced to face Punahou on Thursday.
Meanwhile, on the Big Island, Kalaheo (making its first state tournament appearance) stunned Kealakehe 10-9 after rallying from a four-goal deficit at the start of the fourth quarter. High drama, indeed.
On Maui, Roosevelt took an overwhelming lead into the fourth quarter and defeated Lahainaluna 8-5.
Here was the complete scoring for the first-round matches:
Kaiser 7, Kapolei 1
Goal scorers — Kais: Kanoko Niimura 3, Noelle Nakakura, Erin Patterson, Taylor Kuroiwa, Sarah Lorenzo. Kap: Annika Edwards.
Kamehameha 16, Moanalua 2
Goal scorers — KS: Shaye Story 4, Emma Kim 3, Laakea Dedrick 2, Mikaila Ng, Samantha Nakagawa, Lori Char, Mahie Lee, Makela Riordan, Ashley Parker, Kyra Kahahawai. Moa: Isabella McRae, Madison Komatsu.
Kalaheo 10, Kealakehe 9
Goal scorers — Kal: Mattea Jergovic 5, Malia Moritz 2, Elle Foehr 2, Porsha Brandt. Kea: Maiana Villegas 5, Meiling Kam 2, Hailey Yessis, Tegan Harrs.
Roosevelt 8, Lahainaluna 5
Goal scorers — Roos: Emiko Tajima 4, Lauren Croll 2, Hailey Oyadomari 2. Lah: Dakota Delos-Reyes 3, Nikki Zamani 2.
|1||April 30||Kealakehe vs. Kalaheo||Kalh 10-9||Kona|
|2||April 30||Lahainaluna vs. Roosevelt||Roos, 8-5||Kihei|
|3||April 30||Kaiser vs. Kapolei||Kais 7-1||Kamehameha|
|4||April 30||Kamehameha vs. Moanalua||KSK 16-2||Kamehameha|
|5||May 3||(4) KS-Hawaii vs. Roosevelt||KSH 9-5||Kamehameha|
|6||May 3||(2) Baldwin vs. Kalaheo||Bal 16-7||Kamehameha|
|7||May 3||(3) Kahuku vs. Kamehameha||KSK 8-6||Kamehameha|
|8||May 3||(1) Punahou vs. Kaiser||Pun, 14-2||Kamehameha|
|9*||May 4||Kalaheo vs. Kahuku||Kahuku, 13-8||Kamehameha|
|10*||May 4||Roosevelt vs. Kaiser||Kaiser, 4-3||Kamehameha|
|11||May 4||(2) Baldwin vs. Kamehameha||KS, 6-3||Kamehameha|
|12||May 4||(4) KS-Hawaii vs. (1) Punahou||Pun, 8-2||Kamehameha|
|13*||May 5||(3) Kahuku vs. Kaiser||3:15 p.m.||Kamehameha|
|14*||May 5||(2) Baldwin vs. (4) KS-Hawaii||4:30 p.m.||Kamehameha|
|15||May 5||Kamehameha vs. Punahou||6 p.m.||Kamehameha|
|* — consolation|