Defense Is Key For Kapolei Water Polo

With a runner-up finish in the OIA last season, the Kapolei girls water polo team entered the 2013 season last week among the favorites.

With that in mind, head coach Dex Lee set about recapturing the collective work ethic that guided his team a year ago. That meant ensuring that the front end was full for the veteran Hurricanes before they reached the OIA portion of their schedule.

“No work load is too much for them,” Lee said. “We’ve already played 15 (preseason) games. We’re way past the things newcomers (to the sport) have to get over – like cold water. We have a lot of experience, and we hope they’re going to step up. From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like they will.”

Kapolei opened its OIA season last Wednesday with a 16-1 rout of Kaimuki. It was to continue Monday with a key encounter against longtime power Roosevelt. A game against Leilehua follows Saturday at Central Oahu Regional Park.

“I like what we have – this is a strong group,” Lee said. Among the reasons Kapolei is always near the top in water polo is that it usually has a roster full of competitive swimmers who already are well-conditioned from the swimming season.

“We anticipate having a ‘sprint advantage’ on every team in the OIA except for maybe Kaiser,” noted Lee, who has built this team around Leilani Herrera, Tiala Wendt and sisters Doran and Brooke Bosque.

Doran Bosque, a senior, scored three goals in the opener and figures to be in the running for Player of the Year honors in the West. “Doran is pretty much our leader,” Lee said. “The best thing about her is that she’s improved every year. Our offense will run through Doran. If she is on, we’ll be on. She normally draws the best defender. She puts it on herself to take the other team’s best player out (of the mix). She draws the other team’s best defender, too.”

Brooke Bosque is a junior this season. “She’s a lefty who can throw really hard, which is a good trait for a water polo player.”

Herrera was one of the top swimmers in the state this winter, having captured the 100 backstroke at the state meet in February. “She wins the sprint consistently for us. In 15 games, she probably only lost once or twice.”

Wendt is transitioning to goalkeeper this season, after having been a field player previously. “(Adjusting to a new position) has been easier for her than for most. She’s athletic. She played volleyball, and she was a blocker, which helps quite a bit. She has a lot of natural gifts.”

Defensive play has been a point of emphasis, according to Lee, and it’s an approach that will continue this week as the Hurricanes get ready for Leilehua. “I think we’re a lot faster than they are. If we swim properly, it will be good. Hopefully, we’ll take care of our business.

“Defensively, we’re solid,” he added. “Our girls are fast. They can get back and move in and out of a zone. Our defense will keep us in most games.”