Lady Lunas play a physical brand of water polo
LAHAINA — Lahainaluna High School water polo coach Will Hutchison is the perfect personality fit for the Lady Lunas. A jolly, amiable sort, he also brings a lifelong affection to water sports — including surfing, swimming and water polo — to his position as the leader of the six-time Maui Interscholastic League defending champions.
So, there is no denying his success as the mentor of the Lahainaluna team — and as a history teacher on campus — comes as a direct result of his easy-going, kind demeanor in getting along with adolescents. Coupled with his dedication to continuity of consistent growth of the program, it is clear to see how the team has risen to the championship level.
The leadership core of the 2011 Lady Lunas is built around a senior class led by Gina Bela Mata’afa — a returning MIL Player of the Year and two-time wrestling state silver medalist — along with classmates Taylor Pante, Kristen Fuller, Ciara Allen, Malia Moore, Kamaehu Alboro, Jessye Acker, Dezirea Acker and Dalena Duong. Junior returnees include Bela Pinto, Samantha Feyen, Leilani Miranda and Kanoe Dodd.
The sophomore class is represented by Hanalore Rolfing, Bridget Joy and Mahea Kaaihue-Falahee, and the freshmen contingent includes Courtney Galarita, Kimmy Yap, Cherelle Freitas, Kealoha Nishino, Ho’o Cabanilla and Sierra Lerback. Carol Rosetta is the assistant coach.
According to Hutchison, the current Lahainaluna team plays an aggressive, physical brand of water polo in contrast to his finesse teams of the past.
“We have some very talented and physical players, and so we play a different style this year — this is our strength. They are definitely the most physical team, and they could be the best team I’ve had. They are also the most fun team I’ve had — a good bunch.”
Coach Will expressed his gratitude to the staff at the Lahaina Aquatic Center, Tom Popdan and the Lahaina Swim Club, and everybody at Lahainaluna for the success of the water polo program.
The Lady Lunas closed out the MIL season with the post-season tournament and now begin preparation for the state playoffs — where they will be the third seed behind Punahou and Kahuku — slated for May 5-7 on the Kamehameha Schools Big Island campus.