Menehune take the lead

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island
    Kauai's Hailey Iha (background) prepares to pull the trigger on a short set from Vanessa Alcones in the first set against Kapaa Saturday during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball game at the Kauai High School gym.
  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kauai Interscholastic Federation tower official Merrill Carvalho and Kapaa’s Talia Washington watch as Kauai’s Kaleonahe Bukoski works to push the ball past the Kapaa defender in the second set Saturday during the KIF girls volleyball game at Kauai High School’s gym.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kapaa’s Maeha Piturachsatit digs out a save in the second set Saturday during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball game at the Kauai High School gym.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kauai’s Rebecca Zenger and Darain Kealoha-Albarado go up to defend on a shot by Kapaa’s Lani Alo in the second set Saturday during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball game at the Kauai High School gym.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kapaa’s Sydney Nice hits into the tandem defense of Kauai’s Tiana Manera and Hailey Iha in the second set Saturday during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball game at the Kauai High School gym.

LIHUE — The Waimea High School girls volleyball team grabbed the lead in Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball with a 3-1 win — 25-18, 25-16, 16-25, 25-20 — over the Island School Voyagers Saturday night before a strong fan base at the Wilcox Gymnasium on the Island School campus in Puhi.

With the Menehune win via a consistent comeback in the fourth set, Waimea takes a 2-0 lead in the standings, challenged by the Kauai and Kapaa, which hold 1-1 marks following Kauai’s 3-0 win — 25-17, 25-16, 25-9 — over Kapaa at the Kauai High School gym.

“We got our team back,” said Kauai coach Kehau Regidor. “I guess the girls had opening night jitters Wednesday. Tonight, they were a bit more consistent. We got some nice strong serves that forced errors. We need to work on cutting down our own unforced errors and get consistent.”

The Raiders, working through a tentative opening set to the midway point, started to assert themselves against the Warriors, who stayed in the game on back-to-back Keegan Kessler aces for an early 7-5 lead, the progress being stymied by a Hailey Iha block in the middle.

Iha, Maria Gojkovic and Rebecca Zenger whacked out a 12-10 lead, and despite a Sydney Nice bang, the Warriors started to wane behind a trio of errors.

Nice and Talia Washington continued to hammer for the Warriors, but miscues overshadowed the offensive performances.

“The girls were just a little off all around,” said Ari Logan, Kapaa coach. “They were playing with no consistency, and they had no sense of urgency out there. Eventually, they just shut down mentally.”

The Raiders continued to build on their opening set, focusing on offense rather than trying to avoid errors. Jolea Kiilau Pillos, garbed in the libero outfit, served up an ace in her string of eight unanswered points in the second set. Her performance behind the service line came with support from Kapaa errors, strong Kauai blocking in the middle, and hits from Tiana Manera from the opposite side for the 18-9 bulge.

Kapaa trimmed the deficit to five points behind an ace from Naomi Noguchi and Raider passing errors, 21-16, but Kauai closed the second set with a solid Iha bang, 25-16.

Coming from an 0-2 deficit in the final set, Kauai went on a 14-2 run behind more Warrior errors and hits from Gojkovic and Zenger.

“We just need to go back and work on our mental game,” Logan said. “There is still a lot more game ahead.”

Kauai next hosts Island School Wednesday while Kapaa travels to the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea. The junior varsity matches serve up starting at 5 p.m. with the varsity matches starting no earlier than 6:30 p.m.

Junior varsity results

Waimea def. Island School: 25-16, 25-23, 25-13

Kapaa def. Kauai: 25-22, 15-22, 25-22

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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