KAPA’A – Psst! Pass it on. The Warriors are for real.
In exuberant fashion, the Kapa’a Warriors’ boys and girls varsity volleyball squads ended KIF first round play with home victories over the Kaua’i Red Raiders Saturday evening at a half-filled Bernice Hundley Gymnasium to improve to 1-3 and finish in a second-place tie.
Kapa’a 15-9, 15-5
With starting setter Aukai Dennis nursing a sore shoulder on the bench and Warrior jump servers consistently spraying balls all over the court, it took awhile for the Raider offense to click.
Behind the uplifted play of outside banger Ricky Rodrick, smart sets of Kyle Mahoney, and the sharp serve of Billy Toy, Kapa’a jumped out to a 10-4 advantage in game one and never looked back.
The Raiders battled to a 5-3 edge in the second set as Warren Lee flawlessly turned three Warrior kills into returnable dig saves.
Warrior outside Cale Forsen found an open corner to put himself at the service line and, remarkably, twelve serves later (which included three service aces by Forsen), the Warriors found themselves with their first win of the year. A quartet of Rodrick kills and undersized Bryan Domingo’s huge defensive play at the net contributed to the run.
“We looked for consistency on our jump serve,” first year head coach Ray Dela Pena said after the match, “and a little more sustained intensity in their play because we’ve had problems in our past few games getting them into it and playing for each other. We’re finally beginning to see it – we’re not quite satisfied yet with what they’ve got but we’re pretty confident that, through this second round, we’re going to be more competitive.”
The victors were led by Rodrick (game-high 10 kills, team-leading 5 digs) and Forsen (4 kills, 4 service aces), while Mahoney was credited with 15 assists.
The Kaua’i offense was capably paced by Ronald Hosaka (7 assists) while Jonathan Arakaki, Kelly Foster, and Futi Tavana paired kills. Lee led the Raider defensive effort with 6 digs and teammate Justin Toulon dug 3 saves.
Kapa’a 12-10, 12-15, 13-11
This victory was a long time in coming for Warrior volleyball fans but the Kapa’a girls proved that it was worth the wait.
For the Raiders it was simply a matter of time running out.
The Warriors battled tooth and nail for a 12-7 game one lead when co-captain Sharlene Carillo exited the floor with a sprained ankle and 19 seconds to play. A Kehau Silva kill gave the ball back to the visitors with just over four ticks left and Kyrie Simeona at the service line. A pair of sharp service aces cut the lead to 3 with fewer than two seconds left and a Courtney Doliente-Kellie Masuda put-away ended the set at 12-10 as the clock ticked off. Both squads battled through short runs in the second set but Alaina Villatora’s 4 kills proved to be the difference.
The Warriors rode the arm of senior co-captain Tescily Maguire (6 of her team-high 10 kills) in game three and pulled out to a 13-8 edge before the south-siders pulled to within two. Eight side outs culminated a furious effort by both teams to cash in before the game clock expired to a tremendous roar.
Amniesty Ragsac had another standout game with 6 kills and 12 digs for the winners; senior setter Ihilani Yama (16 assists, 8 digs), Maguire (team-high 9 digs), and Kelly McBride (3 kills) paced the Warrior effort.
Silva led all hitters with 11 kills while Simeona (10 kills, 7 digs), Tina Moger (11 digs), Masuda (4 kills, 8 digs), Villatora (6 kills), and Doliente (32 assists) also stood out for Kaua’i.
“We wanted to prove to the community and to ourselves that we could do this,” Maguire gleefully stated after the match.
“It boosts our spirits,” a tired-yet obviously excited Yama said about the big win. “We hope we keep it up and take the second round.”
The idle first round champ Waimea Menehune boys and girls teams (4-0) travel to Lihue next Wednesday to begin second round play against the Red Raiders with boys junior varsity action scheduled to start at 3 p.m.