WAIMEA – The Menehune boys opened defense of the 2002 KIF volleyball season with a thrilling 15-13, 12-15, 15-7 victory over the visiting Red Raiders in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Clem Gomes Gym.
In his first year of varsity competition, outside hitter John Karratti soared like a veteran as he banged out a team-high 10 kills over and around Kauai front row defenders. Raider Kamu Kawaihalau led all hitters with a game-high 12 kills.
A win is a win, quipped head coach Bobby Kamakele immediately after the grueling three-setter, sometimes we win great and sometimes we dont win so great. But we keep trying.
Sometimes the kids surprise us. Their level of play during games just keeps getting higher and higher.
The first set was a back and forth affair as the hosts finally prevailed on a Casey Kaohelaulii/Joshua Vinzant double block to win by two.
In game 2, the visitors jumped out to a 10-5 lead before a momentum shift put Waimea into the lead at 12-11. An Eric Fujikawa rejection knotted things up at 12-all and the Raiders took the lead for good on a Kawaihalau rocket cross court. A Menehune timeout failed to stem the Kauai advantage as Kawaihalau’s leaping solo block and a follow-up dump to an open middle knotted things up at a game apiece.
Waimea jumped out to a 9-4 advantage in the deciding set on the strength of their defense and the great finishing effort of senior setter Talon Abat. As the squads traded service aces, a 5-second serving violation seemed to deflate the south-siders.
With defensive specialist Steven Fountain raining jump serves from all angles and Talon returning Kauai overpasses for winners, the Menehunes ended the contest on a string of 5 consecutive points.
November 3rd, 1999- a long time in waiting. The date had a personal meaning as it was the last time a Menehune squad bested the resurgent Raider girls in KIF league play. After a string of 28 consecutive league titles, they finally found themselves on the outside looking in.
Their long-harbored frustration and drive to succeed paid dividends as the veteran squad made a strong statement with a hard-fought 15-7, 17-15 victory over the defending titlists.
It looked like things might end early after the grueling boys match- taking full advantage of 5 Raider hitting errors-for-points and a quintet of service aces, Waimea cruised to a 15-7 first set win.
It wouldn’t be so easy in the second.
Kauai jumped out to a 5-0 advantage and looked in complete control until a Virginia Aguilar dink ended the run. A pair of Robyn Arrington service aces put the hosts on the board and a Britnee Boeder kill brought the Menehunes within 5-3.
Another unforced hitting error returned the ball to the home squad and with Aguilar at the line, Waimea reeled off a string of 9 unanswered points.
Kauai clawed back as both teams methodically worked to set up their offenses. A Menehune hitting miscue knotted things up at 12-all but two Boeder kills to open corners put Waimea back up by one.
A serving error with no time left pushed the contest into overtime. On two occasions, the hosts went ahead only to be tied in turn on unforced errors.
Setter Ashlee Vea, who ran the high-octaine Menehune offense to near-perfection, ended the nail-biter on a hard service ace to the delight of the raucous crowd.
Waimea travels to the Bernice Hundley Gym this Saturday to take on the Kapaa Warriors in their home opener.