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Kahuku, Kamehameha set up another water polo showdown


Kahuku’s Kea Kunz scored on a penalty shot against Kealakehe on Thursday.

Bring on the most interesting matchup of the HHSAA/Stanford Carr Development water polo state championships.

After a series of blowouts in the quarterfinals at the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex on Thursday, today’s meeting between OIA champion Kahuku and ILH runner-up Kamehameha has the potential to be much more compelling.

Kahuku advanced to the semifinals with a 14-2 rout of BIIF second-place squad Kealakehe.

“We need to be at the top of our game,” said Kahuku’s four-year goalkeeper Noa Cravens. “We just gotta give it all we got, and I know we can do it.”

Izzy Walker, Makenna Beck and Kayla Grigsby each put in three goals to get the Red Raiders to showtime. The ball drops in the pool at 5:15 p.m.

The only time the Red Raiders have beaten an ILH team in states was ‘Iolani in the 2013 semifinals. The Warriors got the better of the Red Raiders the past two semis and in a preseason tournament this year, but that feels like a long time ago to both teams.

Kahuku and Kamehameha have hooked up in the state tournament seven times, with the Warriors winning each one.

“Kamehameha’s a really strong, powerful team,” Kahuku coach Larisa Luehrs said. “They’re a lot stronger than they were before, so we just gotta make sure we are good with our passes and communication and not make simple mistakes on our own account that will cause turnovers or stolen balls.”

The Red Raiders worked extensively on talking in the week since edging Roosevelt 9-8 in double-overtime for the OIA title, their eighth straight.

“The girls showed that today,” Luehrs said. “Their passes were really good and the shots they put away were awesome, so I’m really pleased with them.”

Kahuku didn’t know what to expect from Kealakehe — which ended Kamehameha-Hawaii’s state streak at 11 in the BIIF semifinals — but the Waveriders had some idea of the Red Raiders’ tactics. It bore out.

“I think their big strength is really their defense. They press hard,” Kealakehe coach Chris Chang said. “If you can keep the ball in one spot, you shut down an offense. And I think that’s what they did to us. … I think that’s what won them the game.”

Kahuku got two goals from Walker in the first quarter — the first on a breakaway pass from Cravens and the second on a post-up.

“She kind of set the pace for us and got everybody on the right track,” Cravens said.

The game entered blowout territory early in the second with a penalty shot by Kea Kunz, a left-wing score from Beck and third goal by Walker.

Kahuku’s Grace Rittenhouse, Ava Countryman, Sophie Wilson and Delilah Tia also found the net.

Skyler Hudson and Maiana Villegas had Kealakehe’s scores.

Kamehameha 10, No. 3 Baldwin 4

Payton Bosque scored three times to move into a tie for fifth in HHSAA winners-bracket career goals at 23, and the Warriors cruised past the Bears and into the semifinals for the third straight year.

Lori Char and Emma Kim added two goals apiece to lead Kamehameha, while Mahie Lee, Laa Dedrick and Kaylen Nitahara added single scores.

The Bears fell behind by two goals to start the game but rallied to tie it in the second quarter, only to see the Warriors rattle off five unanswered to swim away with it.

Baldwin’s goals were an all-Takakura affair, with Kayla scoring twice and Olivia and Naomi finding the net once each.

No. 1 Punahou 17, Lahainaluna 1

Nine Buffanblu scored as the nine-time defending state champions remained unbeaten in state-tournament play (34-0) with a resounding ouster of the MIL runner-up Lunas.

Punahou — which converted 17 of 27 shots to Lahainaluna’s one of nine — sprinted to a 5-0 lead after a quarter and a nine-goal advantage at the break.

The final carnage read: Dani Kauahi four goals; Maddie Meister three; Robbie Bickerton, Marissa Miller and Kaya Lee two apiece; and Micaela Kauhane, Daralyn Wen, Kai Faurot and Cory Ruotola one each.

Julia Bianco got the Lunas on the board with 2:20 left in the third quarter. The 9-1 score held until the fourth, when Punahou re-inserted its starters and rolled with eight goals.

Roosevelt 14, No. 4 Hawaii Prep 4

Senior Taylor Brooks scored nine goals, second-most in a state winners-bracket game, and the Rough Riders reached the semifinals for the second straight year, where they’ll look to avenge last season’s 17-2 semis loss to powerhouse Punahou.

Brooks’ total was the most since Rachel Kamai’s 11 (the record) for Roosevelt in 2011. Brooks did it on 17 shot attempts.

April Gomes added four goals, while Rayna Miranda scored one.

BIIF champ Ka Makani got goals from Janelle Laros, Taylor Doherty, Nore Healy and Ava Jean Johnston.

#KeaKunz #KahukuGirlsWaterPolo #KahukuRedRaiders #NoaCravens #IzzyWalker #MakennaBeck #KaylaGrigsby #LarisaLuehrs #GraceRittenhouse #AvaCountryman #SophieWilson #DelilahTia

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