ILH Girls Water Polo
Defending champ Punahou blitzes Iolani in ILH opener


Punahou goalie Emalia Eichelberger tips an Iolani shot attempt. The Buffanblu went on to win the game 13-1. John Lujan | Special to SL

MAKIKI — Defending state champion Punahou scored early and often to cruise past Iolani, 13-1 in both teams' season-opener at Waterhouse Pool Friday night.

Natassia Dunn, Saki Migliorato and Marissa Miller each scored three goals apiece to help the Buffanblu begin Interscholastic League of Honolulu play on a high note.

Defense led to offense as the Buffanblu forced 23 Iolani turnovers, four of which were shot clock violations. This helped Punahou attempt twice as many shot attempts as the Raiders, 24 to 12. 

When Iolani did get a shot off, senior goalkeeper Emalia Eichelberger was a sentry in the net, getting a hand on seven attempts.

"We just wanted to come out really strong and give a little preview for what we're going to bring in the season," said Eichelberger, who will play collegiately for national power Stanford. "I think being the defending champs, we have a lot of pressure just to try and keep it up each year so we definitely came into this game training really hard."

The Buffanblu pestered the Raiders all night long and came away with eight steals. Dunn and Dani Kauahi led the effort with three steals apiece.

"We tried to work on really getting into the lanes and helping others if there's an overpass," said Dunn.

Punahou, winners of the last eight state titles, scored five straight goals on consecutive possessions in the second quarter to roll to a 8-1 halftime lead. Most of the Buffanblu's shot attempts came from the left wing.

"Communication was key," said Migliorato. "We're a really close team so we know when someone else is ready for the ball, we know when we want the ball and we're just good in seeing those extra passes."

Migliorato saw the field of play well, assisting on at least five goals. 

"She does a really nice job on the low post," Punahou coach Ken Smith said on Migliorato. "We run a lot of things through her."

Micaela Kauhane added two goals while Kauahi and Madison Meister had one goal each.

Miller netted the first score of the game at the 5:12 mark of the opening period. Dunn got her first goal of the contest on the Buffanblu's next possession. A power-play goal from Migliorato gave Punahou a 3-0 lead after the first quarter.

After Miller's shot hit the crossbar to start the second quarter, Punahou began its string of five straight scores. Punahou scored all of its goals in the period in a span of 170 seconds. 

Iolani got its only goal of the game during the Buffanblu's run, but could not find anyway to stop the onslaught.

"We had opportunities," said Iolani coach Ian Kusao. "They have a strong defense and their keeper is good. We got a little worn down so we're going to go back and train a little harder and make adjustments for the next game."

Maddie Hawk received a pass from Serena Myatt for a breakaway goal for the Raiders at the 4:37 mark of the second stanza. Amy Overland had three steals to lead Iolani's defense.

Reach Michael Lasquero at






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