LIHUE – The Kauai High School boys and girls varsity volleyball squads bounced back from opening day losses with victories over the visiting Kapa’a Warriors, Wednesday night at a crowded Red Raider gymnasium.
Kauai 15-9, 11-15, 15-8
The Red Raiders utilized their full compliment of players to outlast Kapa’a in another three set thriller behind the steady setting of 510 senior Aukai Dennis (23 assists) and consistent hitting of Kamu Kawaihalau (8 kills, 2 errors) and Kelly Foster (7 kills, 2 errors).
In the opening set, Kauai jumped out to a 8-3 advantage only to have the visitors storm back to take a 9-8 edge on a Raider passing error. With defensive specialist Warren Lee at the serving line, the home squad went on a 7-0 closing run, punctuated on an Eric Fujikawa quick kill from Dennis.
Both teams battled on even terms for most of game 2, but the jump-serving Warriors broke a 6-6 deadlock with an 8-0 run of their own to take a 14-6 advantage with three minutes to play. A Jonathan Arakaki and Dennis block assist temporarily ended the Kapa’a string and started the momentum shift back to the hosts.
A Warrior hitting error on an open net enabled Kauai to claw back to 14-11 but aneventual Cale Forsen roll shot to an open middle forced a deciding game 3.
The Raiders (1-1 on the year) jumped out to a 13-1 lead as tired legs led to a multitude of hitting and service errors.
On the strength of Alika Woodwards excellent jump serve placement, the visitors cut the advantage to 13-6. A passing error brought the home squad within a point of victory but a thunderous Ricky Rodrick kill cut the rally short.
Kapa’a added to their tally on a Raider hitting miscue and Clesson Higashis looping kill but would get no closer as relief setter Ronald Hosaka’s dump at the net gave the ball back to the south-siders. Mason Chan’s rocket past the Warrior double block ended the third 3-setter of the season in as many games.
The loss dropped the highly competitive Warrior boys, who now have a week to prepare for their next encounter at Waimea, to 0-2 in first round play.
Kauai 15-8, 15-7
In a contest that featured a combined 17 service errors by both squads, the Red Raiders cruised to their first victory of the season.
With co-captain Courtney Doliente (22 assists) expertly doling out sets to a multitude of Kauai hitters (Tina Moger 8 kills; Kyrie Simeona, Kellie Masuda, Kehau Silva, and Alaina Villatora 4 kills each), jumped out to early advantages in each set and utilized an aggressive presence at the net (Tina Moger 2 solo blocks) to force numerous Warrior hitting errors.
The Raiders were credited with 10 service aces (led by Jodi Miyashiro with 3) to Kapa’a’s 1 (Uluwehi Torio) and outdug the visitors by a 32-22 edge. Masuda, a virtual Radier digging machine, led all players with 9 saves, while Ihilani Yama and Sharlene Carillo led Kapa’a with 7 and 6 respectively.
Amniesty Ragsac led the Warriors effort with 7 kills and teammates Carillo, Torio and Tescily Maguire each chipped in with 4 apiece.
“We made some lineup switches yesterday,” an exuberant Coach Roberts explained after the match, “so we’re pleased with what we saw tonight. Serving dropped down a bit at the end but sometimes the basics just fall away. I think everyones looking ahead to Saturday- itll be nice to play two matches in a row.”
Kapa’a fell to 0-2 on the season and returns to action next Wednesday at the Clem Gomes gym against the league-leading Menehunes (2-0).
The undefeated Waimea Menehune boys and girls varsity teams travel to Lihue on Saturday, October 5th, to take on the Raiders in an important return engagement, with opening junior varsity action slated to begin at 3 p.m.