Lunas clinch state berth with quadruple-overtime victory
PUKALANI – Lalelei Mataafa knew it was time – she was tired.
Mataafa’s fourth goal of the match, on a five-meter penalty shot 18 seconds into the fourth overtime, gave the Lahainaluna High School water polo team a 9-8 win over Baldwin on Saturday.
The match at Kamehameha Maui pool was a playoff for the Maui Interscholastic League regular-season title and gave the Lunas a berth in the state tournament.
“I knew I just had to put it away because everybody was working so hard,” said Mataafa, a sophomore driver who is also a two-time state wrestling champion. “I knew if we didn’t do it right then we probably would have went to another round and won it later, but when we got that five-
meter I knew I just had to put it away.
“I was getting kind of tired and my shoulder was kind of sore.”
Lahainaluna (10-1) was in front 4-2 early in the third quarter, but Baldwin battled back behind Sheena Obregon, who finished with five goals, to lead 7-5 with four minutes to play in regulation.
The Lunas called timeout and ran a play for Mataafa, who scored with 3:37 to go. Bears goalkeeper Cortney Smith, who was stellar all match, saved a point-blank attempt by Kaile Stockham with 1:20 to go, but Lahainaluna’s Courtney Galarita scored her third and final goal on a nifty backhand shot with 36 seconds left.
Each team scored once in the first overtime, and neither had a goal in the second, leading to sudden death. Mataafa scored with 2:42 left in the fourth OT.
“I was hoping and praying for something to come my way – and it did,” she said.
The teams split their two previous meetings this year – Lahainaluna rallied from a five-goal deficit to win 15-13 in March and Baldwin won 12-10 last week behind seven goals from Alea Weber.
“They’re tough but we came out with the win today,” Mataafa said. “I’m just proud of my girls and everything we’ve done.”
The Bears fell to 9-2.
“It was a great game,” said Baldwin coach Chris Calvert.
The MIL tournament begins Tuesday. The Bears, the two-time defending league champions, could face the Lunas again in Thursday’s final.
“It was an incredible game of water polo, it was super fun,” said Lahainaluna coach Bradley Mason. “I have been in the sport my whole life and you don’t see a lot of games like that, battling back and forth and back and forth. These girls gave everything they had.”
Kim Yap was the Lunas’ goalkeeper, with regular starter Sierra Lerback at the MIL surfing championships.
“Kim Yap, she’s actually our backup goalie and she stepped up twice this year for Sierra Lerback,” Mason said.
“Kim, her leadership in the pool has been huge and her stepping up at goalie for us has been invaluable.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org
Goals-Baldwin: Sheena Obregon 5, Leyla Anderson 1, Tina Medeiros 1, Kendra Bean 1; Lahainaluna: Lalelei Mataafa 4, Courtney Galarita 3, Julia Bianco 1, Hayleigh Berko 1.