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Friday, March 25, 2005



WATER POLO


art
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Goalie Meike De Nooy has helped Hawaii to its highest ranking (No. 5) in five years.


Goalie draws on dreams

She is an artist, both in and out of the water.

An amazing artist.

Check out Meike De Nooy's Web page at Elfwood.com, the world's largest home of SciFi/Fantasy art and fiction. Her drawings are ethereal, fanciful and speak of dreams, realized and yet unmet.

Art is her passion. She'll tell you she draws as much as she can.

And water polo? There's a deep love of that, too, "something I play too much for my own good."

But water polo is what brought her to Hawaii, to play for the Rainbow Wahine. Yesterday, the 6-foot-1 goalie played just half the match as No. 5 Hawaii downed Pacific 15-10.

De Nooy made four saves while giving up three goals as the Wahine took a controlling 9-3 lead after two periods. It was a good win, with UH coach Michele Roy able to use nearly all of his 20 players in the tune-up for today's big match with No. 3 Long Beach State at 4:30 p.m.

The 49ers (15-3) are undefeated in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation at 7-0. The Wahine are 9-6 and 4-2, having won their last four, and seven of the past eight.

"Our team has made big improvements very fast," De Nooy said. "When I got here, we were individual pieces, a happy mix. But now we're getting used to each other and are really growing together."

She, Dutch national teammate Iefke Van Belkum and German national team player Monika Kruszona have brought an international confidence to the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex. The three are first-year players for the Wahine who helped their respective teams earn berths in the Women's World Championship Tournament in Montreal this summer.

Yesterday, Van Belkum had six goals and Kruszona one.

"They are world-class athletes," Roy said. "They have higher goals. They want to play water polo in college, play professionally, play in the Olympics, win the gold medal.

"They are changing the philosophy of Hawaii water polo."

When your national team just knocked off Hungary, can a UCLA -- with 17 U.S. national team players and six of the past nine national titles -- be that intimidating? Last month, Hawaii and UCLA were tied 5-5 with less than 2 minutes remaining; the Wahine missed on a power-play opportunity and the Bruins scored in the final minute to eke out a 6-5 win.

"We have some young players," De Nooy said. "If we can stay together, we can get first place (in the NCAA Tournament)."

And De Nooy plans to stay for a while.

"I love it here," said the 21-year-old who spent nearly half her life in Africa due to her father's irrigation engineering job. "I love the climate, the relaxed international mood."

Hawaii water polo is just like her fantasy art. It is a world where everything is possible and dreams become a reality.



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