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Summer League crowns first champion

Wintermeyer’s 4 goals lead Westside to 9-5 victory over Upcountry

Westside’s Alicia Wintermeyer follows through on a fourth-quarter scoring shot during the Maui Summer League championship match on Monday at Kihei Aquatic Center. Westside defeated Upcountry 9-5 to win the league’s inaugural title. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

KIHEI — The championship match for the Maui Summer Water Polo League had just a one-goal margin with less than a quarter to play.

Unbeaten Westside (8-0) went on to a 9-5 win over Upcountry in the end at Kihei Aquatic Center on Monday night, but this was much more than just a finish to the first-year league.

It was all about learning experiences for all of the players involved, from college veterans to soon-to-be Maui Interscholastic League team members.

“It was really cool, it was just like really fun,” said Alicia Wintermeyer, who led Westside with four goals. “It brought back memories of high school because we were playing against each other in high school.”

Wintermeyer, a Lahainaluna High School graduate, is going into her junior year at Concordia University in Irvine, Calif. Her college teammate Kiara Espeleta, a Baldwin graduate, was the goalkeeper for Westside on Monday.

Westside’s Taitum Jones lines up a third-quarter shot as Upcountry’s Mikela Deagular defends.

“It was just really nice to get close together and play as a team,” Wintermeyer said. “I mean, (Upcountry) had a lot of good leadership and they helped a lot with advice and just played so hard. I learned a lot from them, they were just so nice.

“It was really nice to help the younger generation because I love the sport — we all do — and we just want the sport to get known, help everyone get better.”

Wintermeyer scored three goals in the final quarter, including one that gave Westside a 6-4 lead with 6 minutes, 16 seconds to play. Her next goal 64 seconds later made it 7-4.

Taryn Sato, a 2019 Baldwin graduate, is headed to California Lutheran to continue her career. She was also a captain for Westside.

“I’m excited to see Taryn play, it’s going to be really cool for her,” Wintermeyer said.

Players charge for a third-quarter ball Monday.

Sato scored two goals in the final.

“I had a lot of fun, just getting to have this experience over the summer, especially going into college,” Sato said. “It’s just so fun to play in this league — it’s all thanks to coach Shawn (Donohue). He just did such a great job putting this league together.”

Donohue and his wife Cathy organized the first-year league when they saw the need for an outlet for MIL players past and present in the summer months.

“It was what we hoped for and more,” Donohue said. “Great attendance in and out even with all of the vacation time Mauians take. We have had girls and boys here from all levels, middle school through college, and they just keep showing up and playing. It’s awesome.”

Rising Baldwin senior Jessica Baker scored twice for Upcountry (4-4).

Upcountry’s Jessica Baker winds up for a second-quarter shot between Westside’s Taryn Sato (right) and Hailey Bogar.

“It was honestly super fun,” Baker said. “It was great to get a bunch of people from all around the island who haven’t played polo before, who have played polo before just come together and really teach people.”

Baker said it will make her a better player as she prepares for her senior season with the Bears. The teams are coached by the team captains.

“Definitely, I learned how to coach other people, I learned a lot of patience, I learned how to step up and speak and be a team leader,” Baker said. “It gave me a lot more confidence.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

Championship Match

WESTSIDE 9, UPCOUNTRY 5

Westside 1 3 1 4–9

Upcountry 1 2 0 2–5

Goals–Westside: Alicia Wintermeyer 4, Hailey Bogar 2, Taryn Sato 2, Maile Cacal 1; Upcountry: Jessica Baker 2, Nikki Zamani 2, Slater Fleck 1.

Third-Place Match

SOUTHSIDE 10, WAISIDE 5

Southside 4 4 1 1–10

Waiside 1 2 2 0– 5

Goals–Southside: Audrey Reiss 5, Slater Fleck 4, Jessica Baker 1; Waiside: Benson Turner 2, Declan Levin 1, Keeanna Cramer 1, no name provided 1.