Iolani wins ILH girls water polo
Iolani puts away Punahou to get into state tourney
Aja Kusao scored the winning goal in sudden death as host Iolani took the Interscholastic League of Honolulu girls water polo championship with a 9-8 win over Punahou last night.
Jade Look scored four goals to spark Iolani.
In the battle for third place, Kamehameha got three goals each from Hannah Thomas and Ashley Akeo in a 14-2 victory over Pac-Five.
The Iolani girls water polo team will get its first opportunity at winning a state championship after capturing the Interscholastic League of Honolulu title with a 9-8 victory last night over Punahou during the sudden-death period.
Playing in their own pool before a roaring crowd of 300, the Raiders scored the winning goal when Aja Kusao threw the ball into the net at the 1:56 mark to spark a cheerful celebration among fans and players.
"We worked so hard for this," said Kusao after the match. "It's a real exciting moment for me and for my team. I just had a clear shot at the net, so I feel happy I was able to get the ball in."
Iolani coach Linda Look says her team has played well all season and hopes her team can continue the ILH tradition of winning the state title.
"Our girls did a great job tonight. We have seven seniors on this team. And they have grown together as a unit over the years, concentrating on execution and ball control. Now we have to focus on doing well at states," Look said.
With the win, Iolani (7-1) was awarded the No. 1 seed in the state tournament and will play at 5 p.m. on Thursday against Kamehameha-Hawaii.
In the abbreviated history of the state tournament, the title has gone to ILH schools with Punahou winning the first two titles and Kamehameha winning in 2006.
First-round matches at the Local Motion Hawaii High School Athletic Association state tournament begin with fourth-seeded Lahainaluna taking on Kapolei at 1:15 p.m.. Following this match, third seed Hawaii Prep faces Roosevelt at 2:30 p.m. The next match features Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Kahuku, the No. 2 seed, against Leilehua at 3:45 p.m.
All matches will be played at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center located at Central Oahu Regional Park.
The two teams played a close first quarter with each scoring two goals. Iolani's offense took control in the second quarter with three goals to lead at halftime 5-2.
Punahou (5-3) slowly eased its way back into contention by outscoring Iolani 2-1 in the third quarter and adding two early fourth-quarter scores to draw even. With the match tied 6-6, Iolani's Jade Look put the ball into the net at the 3:43 mark of the fourth quarter to put her team ahead. But Punahou bounced back to knot the score at 7-7 with 1:16 left in regulation on a goal by Kulani Jenkins.
In the first extra quarter, Iolani scored first on a goal by Elyse Shimomura 34 seconds into that period, but Punahou quickly countered with a score by Marlie Lang to set up sudden death.
Neither team scored in the second extra period. Look said Iolani goalie Gerilyn Manago played a sensational match.
"I just tried my best to figure out how Punahou was attacking us and position myself in good spots," Manago said. "I feel really proud of our team. But this win was a team effort."
Punahou coach Ken Smith said, "I wish Iolani good fortunes in the state tourney. The match was close and it came down to a matter of inches."