LIHUE – When asked for an assessment of his squads performance in the first round clincher last night, Waimea head coach, Dr. Paul Arrington laughed wearingly, “They make an old man out of me. We served real well in the first game and in the second we started off pretty good. Then we had a lapse and had to struggle at the end.”
It was a simple statement made in the intense emotion of a dramatic first round-clinching win on the road – yet an aptly descriptive one that spoke volumes.
Despite 22 digs by scrambling Raider back row defenders, the steady Menehunes opened the contest with an 8-2 run and cruised to a 15-5 opening set victory. Waimea middle hitters Jannah Tafua (5 of 6 kills on the night) and Virginia Aguilar (4 of 5 kills) put away almost everything setter Ashlee Vea dished out to lead the charge.
Game two started out in similar fashion as the visitors jumped out to an 8-3 lead with the help of three Vea service aces and continued to maintain the five-point edge to 13-8 with 2:41 left on the game clock.
This time, however, as freshman Kehau Silva (6 kills) and junior middle Alaina Villatora (5 of 6 kills in the second set) lined bullets past single blocks and deftly dropped dinks over the double, the Kaua’i offense suddenly got untracked. Despite 9 critical service errors in the set, the Raiders found new life at the net.
A Jodi Miyashiro service ace cut the lead and Silva’s kill of a Courtney Doliente quick set found Kaua’i within three. Tina Moger found an open corner to trim the deficit and a pair of passing errors knotted things up at 13-all.
Communication problems on a passed ball attempt led to a side-out and outside hitter Britnee Boeder (6 kills on the evening) ripped a shot off the block to reclaim the lead for the Menehunes and prompt a home time out with 0:51 left.
The tension mounted as nine possessions failed to move the scoreboard tally and the game clock expired. With Kellie Masuda at the service line, another Silva quick kill found the middle vacant and the Raiders with an opportunity to go ahead for the first time in the contest. Villatora’s line drive smash put Kaua’i up 15-14 and brought the partisan crowd to its feet.
Vea’s dump of a Raider overpass quickly gave the ball back to the visitors. Another Villatora put-away reclaimed the serve for the south-siders but a subsequent lift call deflated Raider hopes.
A Boeder dink off the block evened the score at 15-15 and a Raider hitting error put Waimea ahead to stay. Kaua’i called time out but failed to stem the charge as another lift violation was whistled to end the thriller.