Mililani Girls Ready In The Hunt For State Wa­ter Polo Ti­tle

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - Central Oahu Sports - By JACK DANILEWICZ

Mililani girls wa­ter polo team spent last week re­group­ing, ac­cord­ing to head coach Gregg Wong.

“We stum­bled a lit­tle bit at the OIA tour­na­ment, fin­ish­ing fourth, and we’re lucky to have had the week to get our bear­ings straight. The girls are def­i­nitely ex­cited and anx­ious to get the bad taste out of their mouths.”

The ul­ti­mate op­por­tu­nity to write the per­fect end­ing to the sea­son comes this week when Mililani takes part in the girls state wa­ter polo cham­pi­onships, which will be at UH Manoa’s Duke Ka­hanamoku Aquatic Com­plex. Mililani brings a 11-4 mark into the state tour­na­ment. Its losses to date have come to Kapolei (twice), Kaiser, and OIA cham­pion Kahuku, al­though the Tro­jans didn’t have its full ros­ter at the OIA tour­ney.

“We were miss­ing a cou­ple of play­ers for var­i­ous rea­sons, and some of the con­ti­nu­ity we had built up was lost,” Wong said. “We’ve had so many lineup changes lately that this week we’re get­ting back to the basics. Im­proved team­work and com­mu­ni­ca­tion will help with our ex­e­cu­tion.”

Mililani also spent the early part of last week in team bond­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in an at­tempt to put the OIA tour­na­ment firmly be­hind them.

“We went paint balling on that Sun­day and had a great time, and on Mon­day we did in­ner-tube wa­ter polo with the boys swim team,” Wong said. “We got back to work on Tues­day.

“We’ve been prac­tic­ing well, so hope­fully that will trans­fer over into the games. Ev­ery­one knows what to do. It’s a mat­ter of be­ing able to do it to­gether and work to­gether and put it to­gether.”

Kaylie Miyashita, Tal­isa Cald­well, Chanel Long and Chloe Long have been team lead­ers to date. The four­some will be counted on to pro­vide some scor­ing punch for a team that’s 11- 1 in games when they tally four goals or more. Low­er­scor­ing af­fairs also are a safe bet at the state tour­na­ment, where the best de­fen­sive teams will be among the field.

“The com­pe­ti­tion at the state tour­na­ment will be tighter,” said Wong, whose Tro­jans are mak­ing a sec­ond straight ap­pear­ance. “It will be up to us to be able to ad­just and go to our sec­ond and third scor- ing op­tions when a team has taken away four firstscor­ing op­tions. That comes down to team­work and con­ti­nu­ity.”

Mililani was the con­so­la­tion cham­pion at last year’s state tour­na­ment, drop­ping its first-round game to Kapolei be­fore de­feat­ing both Roo­sevelt and Leile­hua in the losers’ bracket.

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