WAIMEA – The KIF first round champion Waimea Menehune varsity squads remained undefeated (4-0) in league play with a sweep of the Kapa’a Warriors in Wednesday night prep volleyball action at the Clem Gomes Gymnasium.
Waimea 15-5, 15-13
The hosts were never headed in the opening game as most of the Warrior starters watched from the sidelines. Waimea jumped out to a 12-3 advantage on the strength of rejuvenated middle Jeremy McDown (4 kills) and steady senior outside Desmond Rodrigues (2 kills). Four Kapa’a service aces and a Kaina Kaauwai kill accounted for the Warrior point total.
With their lineup intact for game two, the jump-serving Kapa’a squad fell behind 2-0 but went on an 8-2 run to go up by four. Both teams traded side outs on the next nine possessions before John Karratti’s dink found open court. A Norman Vea dink-for-point, Warrior double contact violation, and Kapa’a 4-hit miscue found the contest tied at 8-8.
The Warriors went on a 3-1 run as Kyle Mahoney’s service ace was shanked to put the Warriors back in front by an 11-9 score. A Waimea hitting error bumped the margin up by one.
With Vea at serve, the Menehunes went on a 4-0 run highlighted by an Erwin Wright dump to even things at 12-all and an unforced hitting error which allowed the west-siders to reclaim the lead.
A mis-timed quick set which failed to find the middle gave the ball back to Kapa’a but a subsequent serving error put the ball back into the hands of Joshua Vinzant at the end line.
A pair of anti-climactic Warrior hitting errors ended the first two-set boys varsity match of the season.
The combo of Vinzant and McDown led the way for the Menehunes as the senior co-captain led all hitters with 8 kills and 6 digs, while McDown had 4 kills, 1 solo block and 1 block assist. Vea added 3 kills while Desmond Rodrigues had a huge match in the back row, digging up 6 balls.
Ricky Rodrick paced the Warrior attack with 3 kills, while senior setter Mahoney doled out 5 assists and Koa Yama scrambled for 6 digs.
Waimea 15-8, 15-13
The Menehune girls, who have not dropped a set in KIF first round play, found a more competitive Warrior squad this time around but still managed to walk away with another victory.
Waimea hustled to an opening 6-1 advantage only to suffer through a 6-0 Warrior rally punctuated by Kelly McBride’s towering solo block in the middle.
The Menehunes countered with a 9-1 run to close out the initial set as Britnee Boeder continued her torrid hitting spree on the outside and sophomore opposite hitter Fa’a Taala found Warrior overpasses to her liking.
Game two was again a contest of medium-sized point runs for each team which culminated in a 13-10 Kapa’a advantage with :21 to play and the ball in the hands of McBride at the line.
An Ashlee Vea-to-Virginia Aguilar quick kill gave the ball back to the blue-and-white and a lift violation on a Cailee Koga service ace found the Menehunes down 13-11 with 14 seconds left.
The Warrior offense failed to click but an answering Aguilar smash with 2 ticks on the clock brought Waimea with 13-12. A Kapa’a time out failed to stem the tide as a net violation squared things at 13-all. With both squads playing exceptional back row defense, an Aguilar dink found a hole to put the hosts back in front and another Koga service ace ended the back-and-forth affair.
The go-to Aguilar led all hitters with 8 kills on the evening, while teammates Boeder (4), Jannah Tafua and Robyn Arrington (3 apiece) helped pace the winning offensive effort. Vea assisted in 13 of 17 Waimea put-aways. The Menehunes dug up 49 balls and were led by Vea and Jenny Morita with 9 each, Boeder and Koga with 7 apiece, and Arrington and Michelle Takashima with 6 each.
Kapa’a’s Amniesty Ragsac led all defenders with 15 digs while Warriors Ihilani Yama and Tescily Maguire hustled for 7 apiece. Sharlene Carillo led the visitors with 7 kills while McBride soared for a pair of solo rejections at the net. Yama was also credited with 12 of 14 Warrior assists.
Their undefeated records and the high quality of Garden Island volleyball play have allowed the Waimea boys and girls squads to currently enjoy statewide recognition in this week’s Hawaii Sports Network volleyball polls at #10 and #8 respectively.
Round 1 play concludes with the Red Raider-Warrior match-up on Saturday at the Bernice Hundley gym with girls junior varsity action scheduled to commence at 3 p.m.
Round 2 is set to start next Wednesday as Kaua’i High hosts the Menehunes. Second round contests will be played in the following order with the opening game again set for 3 p.m.: boys junior varsity, girls junior varsity, girls varsity, and boys varsity.