FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Dara Tawarahara of Iolani scored four goals in yesterday's title match against Kahuku and was named most valuable player of the state girls water polo tournament. CLICK FOR LARGE
Iolani routs Kahuku for water polo title
In the battle of the Raiders, Iolani's dominating second-half performance yesterday propelled the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion to an 11-4 victory over Kahuku for the Local Motion Hawaii High School Athletic Association girls water polo state title.
With more than 400 fans in attendance at Central Oahu Regional Park, Iolani outscored Kahuku 6-1 in the second half to continue the ILH's dominance. During the brief history of the state tourney, ILH schools have won all four championships.
STATE GIRLS WATER POLO
At Central Oahu Regional Park
Seventh-place game: Kapolei 7, Leilehua, 3
Fifth-place game: KS-Hawaii 9, Roosevelt 7
Third-place game: Hawaii Prep 9, Lahainaluna 8, OT
Championship game: Iolani 11, Kahuku 4
Dara Tawarahara netted four goals at crucial stages of yesterday's match. Her consistency throughout the tournament earned Tawarahara the MVP award.
"It feels great to win, but I couldn't have done it without my teammates," said Tawarahara, who said she was surprised to be named the MVP of the tournament. "We knew that we needed to have the whole team play well in order to win. And that's how we won."
It was Kahuku's first loss of the season after 15 straight victories.
"I thought our girls executed to the best of their abilities," Kahuku coach Aukai Ferguson said. "We planned for some of those plays that Iolani ran and our girls hung in there for the first portions of the match. But Iolani was the No. 1 team all season and they showed why. They (Iolani) worked hard out there and my cap's off to them."
The Raiders finished the season at 10-1.
"I'm very happy. It's a great feeling," said Iolani coach Linda Look. "When our girls came out, they were a little bit nervous. Once they got that nervousness out of their system, they set up our game plan and executed what we have been practicing.
"The coaching staff did a really good job in preparing this team. We told them what they needed to do to get here and they did it. The girls really wanted it bad this year. I'm so proud of them."
Iolani opened the match by scoring on its third possession after Tawarahara threw in a close-range goal at the 4:42 mark. It didn't take long for Kahuku to bounce back, scoring on the next possession when Minnie Whitford passed to Rosie Jaffurs, who then fired in a goal from 2 feet out.
Midway through the opening quarter, Iolani regained the lead 2-1 on a goal by Jade Look. Kahuku again answered, with Noe Wicker knotting it at 2-all.
The first quarter ended with a flurry of shot attempts as both teams scrambled to break the tie.
Jaffurs put Kahuku in front 3-2 on her team's first possession of the second quarter. The Red Raiders' lead lasted about a minute.
At the 5:19 mark, Look slammed in a goal to tie the match once again and jump-start a 3-0 Iolani run. Tawarahara netted a close-range goal at the 2:17 mark and then added another goal with 3 seconds left in the first half for a 5-3.
Iolani got its offensive engines running in the third quarter, getting goals from Tawarahara, Look, Aja Kusao and Ashley Nickle to put the game out of reach.
Kusao and Look added goals in the final quarter.
This victory was Iolani's fourth this week. On Monday, the Raiders' won the ILH title with a 9-8 victory over Punahou in sudden death
"We got off to a rusty start and didn't play that great in the beginning," said Kusao, accepting the championship trophy. "In our team meeting at the break we discussed our desires to play harder and when we come back into the pool we played with determination to win."
Stephanie Maddox, Leilehua; Nicole Hagi, Kapolei; Marissa Young, Roosevelt; Kanoe Lyons, KS-Hawaii; Moanalani Tuipulotu, Lahainaluna; Kim Kopra, HPA; Ella Aiwohi and Rosie Jaffurs, Kahuku; Ashley Nickle, Aja Kusao and Dara Tawarahara, Iolani.