KAPALAMA HEIGHTS—A fast start helped propel Kamehameha past Iolani, 8-5 to clinch the Interscholastic League of Honolulu's final state tournament berth for the 2015 Stanford Carr Development, LLC/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Girls Water Polo Championships on Thursday night at Kamehameha's Kalaniopuu Swimming Pool.
The Warriors have six seniors on their roster and this is first state tournament appearance since 2012. Iolani is done for the season.
"I feel it's our chemistry that made us be able to play better and hopefully we're able to build on that and keep working hard going into next week," said senior Kolby Kahahawai.
Keylee Leong and Payton Bosque scored two goals each to lead the Warriors.
"I scored those goals for my seniors because they really want to go to states and they were my first goals of the season and I wanted to dedicate them to the seniors and the captains," said Leong.
The Warriors had three different goal scorers in the first quarter. Kamehameha set the tone early as Madison Kauahi scored 18 seconds into the game. Kayla Ganir added another goal from Kolby Kahahawai and Payton Bosque scored at 4:14 to give Kamehameha an early, 3-0 lead. Emily Nomura scored 9 seconds before the quarter ended to get the Raiders on the score board.
"Last game we scored a lot of goals and I feel we built on that momentum and came into this game wanting to do the same—start of strong and build our confidence," said Kahahawai.
"As you saw in the first quarter, if we get a steal, we go on offense and counterattack. They executed well on defense and it went over to their offense," said Kamehameha coach Keala O'Sullivan.
Kahahawai scored at the 5:49 mark as her shot skipped into the goal past Courtney Overland. Leong scored her first goal at the 2:39 mark and less than a minute later, she rebounded Bosque's missed shot attempt and tipped it in.
"I was so happy for her to be able to get in and score. She has a super nice shot and she puts it in in practice and I'm so happy she was able to do it in the game," said Kahahawai, on Leong's goals.
"We were in some foul trouble and thank God for our depth and she stepped up and got in there and did what we asked of her," added O'Sullivan.
Mollie Taylor added a penalty shot for Iolani, but 17 seconds later Bosque scored her second goal to give Kamehameha a 7-2 lead going into halftime.
The Warriors cooled off in the second half as they shot 1-for-12. Kaylen Nitahara scored Kamehameha's only goal in the second half midway through the fourth.
"Third quarter is tough for us, but we always pull through in the end because we're hard workers," said Leong.
"The fact that they're shooting is a plus. In years past we've been a defensive team. You already got your defense in your pockets, now it's time to step up and be shooters. We're more excited that they're shooting than not shooting.We encourage them to keep shooting," said O'Sullivan.
Nomura added her second goal in the third quarter and Logan Kim and Taylor each added goals in the fourth for the Raiders. Courtney Overland recorded eight saves.
Both teams will play at Mililani on Tuesday night.
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