WAIMEA — The Waimea High School girls volleyball team held off a strong challenge by Kauai High School to claim a 3-1 victory Saturday night before a strong supporting fan base at the Clem Gomes Gym.
With a two-set lead, the Menehune were hobbled by a pressure situation in the second set to drop the third set, 23-25, before putting away the game in the fourth set, 25-17. The final math read Waimea, 25-18, 26-24, 23-25, 25-17
“We gave up too many points in the early sets,” said Kehau Regidor, the Raiders’ coach. “We still need to communicate more and not try to second-guess. And service errors — we had too many.”
Earlier in the evening, Waimea’s junior varsity came back for 2-1 victory — 18-25, 25-17 and 25-18.
The Raider varsity stayed close from the opening serve, pulling to a 4-4 deadlock off a Menehune hitting error, and pulled ahead briefly, 9-8, off a solid Maria Gojkovic hit, only to have Waimea’s Gabrielle Peleras turn the tide with one of her assertive hits to deadlock the contest, 9-9.
From that point, Waimea took control behind hits from Peleras, Leiko Yamauchi, Raelee Samio and Keana Silva. The Menehune’s Samio blossomed with a smile after putting away the first set, 25-18.
Kauai was not daunted by the loss, battling back in the second set to stay close.
Facing a five-point deficit, 15-20 in the second set, Rebecca Zenger exploded in cheer following a key block that brought Kauai to a 21-21 deadlock behind a Gojkovic hit. Waimea pulled ahead 24-21 on a Peleras hit and a Kauai hitting error, but Kauai kept the door open when a service error couldn’t close the door for Waimea.
Kaytlyn Perlas kept Kauai in the match, 24-24, before a Silva hit and a Kauai hitting error put away the set for Waimea, 26-24.
The momentum of that Kauai loss stoked the third set as the Raiders took the lead on five separate occasions before putting away the set, 25-23, to force a fourth set.
Perlas took the service line for a string of six unanswered points for a 13-11 lead. Waimea executed its comeback effort, capitalizing on a Raider service error and net violation before a Zenger block and a Gojkovic hit put Kauai back in control, 15-14.
Facing a 23-18 deficit, Waimea battled back, forcing Kauai errors, and despite strong hits from Yamauchi and Isabella Bateman, the Menehune came up short, 25-23, when Zenger’s hit ended the seesaw ride.
Waimea libero Tehani Togioka set the pace in the final set, building a 6-1 lead from the service line. The Raiders answered, pulling to a 9-9 comeback behind Menehune court errors and sprinkled with hits from Hailey Iha.
But the Menehune took control, and despite a late game spark from Tiana Manera, Waimea closed the door 25-17 on a solid Silva bang.
“Consistency is such a hard thing to teach,” said Chad Delanoza, Waimea coach. “It’s hard because you’re working with something that’s moving. The girls put in the work. They practice hard and play hard — this is no secret for all the teams. This shows because the girls (for all the teams) are not just doing their job, they’re doing it well.”
With the win that improves Waimea to a 4-0 record, the Menehune next host the Island School Voyagers Wednesday while Kauai (2-2) travels to the Bernice Hundley Gym to face the Warriors for the second time this season. The junior varsity match serves up at 5 p.m. at both venues with the varsity game starting no earlier than 6:30 p.m.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.