Lady Luna water polo team firing on all cylinders in MIL play
LAHAINA – The Lahainaluna High School Red Tide continues to roll, as the Lady Luna water polo team shoots for a three-peat atop the Maui Interscholastic League standings.
Led by fifth-year head coach Bradley Mason and assistant Zach Johnson, the team has racked up a 4-0 record nearing the halfway point of the current season and look to be firing on all cylinders in MIL play.
From the cool-down courtyard at the sparkling Lahaina Aquatic Center last week, Coach Bradley asserted his confidence in the two-time defending MIL championship roster as they steamroll their way through the 2016 season.
“Things look really good thus far for us this season. We have the experience of the last three seasons (MIL finishes of a second place and then back-to-back championships), and it looks like all aspects of our game are coming together for us,” he said.
Mason added that this quality play is led by the core group of juniors and seniors of the team. Seniors Haleigh Berko, Lalelei Mata’afa and Haley Pante, along with juniors Julia Bianco, Alicia Wintermeyer and Sydney Wagner, all contribute and continue to lead the championship effort of the Lady Lunas.
“Sydney Wagner is our goalkeeper and has stepped up with her leadership of the team, and from her position with her experience does an excellent job of seeing what’s going on in the game. Lalelei had just returned to the team (after winning her fourth consecutive state wrestling championship) before our first MIL game and has been a magnetic, inspirational leader for the team. She is a dominant athlete who affects all her teammates in a positive way. She is humble, welcoming and treats everyone the same,” he explained.
Coach Bradley added that those core leaders are taking control in the water and understanding what’s going on in the game. He pointed to their intelligence and athletic ability – as excellent swimmers – as the equation that results in their success in the sport.
Sophomores on the Lady Luna squad include Eva Olson, Nikki Zamani, Kyra Franz and Lara Claydon. Isabela Okura is the lone first-year student athlete on the team.
The MIL regular season will consist of ten games running through April 20, followed by the postseason tournament on April 26-28 at Kamehameha Schools Maui. The state playoffs will take place May 4-7, and Coach Bradley is optimistic of their chances there.
“This looks to be our best chance to get to the final four at states. We have a chance to do really well,” he said.
Mason also cited the parental support, the leadership of Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch, and the cooperation of the Lahaina Aquatic Center staff as important reasons for the team’s success over the years.
“Everyone has been such a great help to us,” he concluded.