Basketball Turned Cravens Into Water Polo Standout

Less than 18 months ago, it would have been hard to imagine Noa Cravens as a starter for the Kahuku water polo team this spring. As a newcomer to the sport, she didn’t quite envision it for herself, either.

“Playing goalie is kind of like being a quarterback. Sometimes it’s stressful, but I enjoy it.”

“I’d never played any water sports,” said Cravens. “I’d played basketball, but I never really liked it. I started play- ing water polo because a cousin of mine was playing and it looked really fun. It turned out I was pretty good.”

In retrospect, her basketball skills have served Cravens well. She’s been a quick study in the pool and has had a big impact at goal-keeper on a team already full of playmakers.

“My quick reflexes have helped, I’m pretty sure, and I’ve learned a lot and give a lot of credit to my coaches,” said Cravens, who has three shutout wins to her credit so far. “Playing goalie is kind of like being a quarterback. Sometimes it’s stressful, but I enjoy it.”

Added former Mililani head coach Aaron Waldrip, now on the Kahuku coaching staff: “She’s an outstanding goalkeeper. She’s one of the few sophomores I’ve ever coached who was capable of stepping into a starting role and going up against seniors. She has an increased maturity level for her age. When all else fails, she’s the last line of defense.”

Kahuku entered last Thursday’s OIA tournament as the league’s last unbeaten team at 10-0. The team was seeking its sixth straight OIA title (and 13th in the last 14 years) in addition to gaining momentum for this week’s state girls water polo championships.

Despite a proud water polo tradition, one goal has eluded the Red Raiders to date — bringing home a state title.

“We definitely have a chance. We’re ready. We’ve done a lot of training and hard conditioning.”

For all their talent, the Red Raiders’ cohesiveness has been their strength, according to Cravens. “We definitely have a special bond,” she said. “We’re all really close, and we

Pairings for the state championships were to be announced Sus Wednesday- Saturday at Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex.