LIHUE – The Waimea Menehune girls and boys varsity volleyball squads continued their unbeaten run through KIF competition with a hard-fought road double-header sweep over the Kaua’i Red Raiders Wednesday night in the opening of second round play.
Waimea 15-12, 13-11
The Waimea girls varsity team improved to 5-0 on the season with a victorious pairing from the competitive Red Raiders.
In the opening game, Kaua’i steadily worked to a 12-10 advantage on the inside-outside game of Kehau Silva and Tina Moger, before their first service error gave the ball back to the visitors.
A pair of hitting miscues knotted the contest at 12-all but the Courtney Doliente-Silva quick connection got a much needed side out for the south-siders. The subsequent serve failed wide however, to put the ball into the hands of Menehune sophomore Cailee Koga.
Raider hitting and passing errors bumped the lead to 14-12 but a Moger kill-off-the-block temporarily halted the run.
With Waimea setter Ashlee Vea hustling to set the quick from her knees, middle Virginia Aguilar made a successful swing count to reclaim the serve and another Kaua’i hitting error quietly ended the thriller.
Game two was a back-and-forth affair as both teams played to their strengths with one-on-one match up advantages in the middle.
Vea’s service ace gave the visitors a 12-9 edge and a lift call pushed the lead to four. An Alaina Villatora kill put Moger at the service stripe and her ace down the line brought Kaua’i within 13-10 with 0:50 to play. A quartet of frantic side outs brought Raider Kyrie Simeona to the line and the junior induced a free ball opportunity that Silva quickly swiped just beyond the reach of a diving Robyn Arrington to trim the lead to 13-11.
As the clock expired, both squads made frantic back court saves in an effort to extend play before an Aguilar-Fa’a Taala block assist dropped to the floor untouched to claim the sideout and victory for the Menehunes.
The victors were led by Aguilar’s game-high 8 kills (along with 2 service aces), the steady all-around performance of Britnee Boeder (7 kills, 6 digs), and the floor generalship of setter Vea (21 assists, 8 digs, 2 service aces). Jannah Tafua (5 kills), Arrington (7 digs), and Jenny Morita and Koga had 4 digs each.
The Raider effort was paced by Courtney Doliente (20 assists), Kyrie Simeona (5 kills, 7 digs), Kelly Masuda (3 kills, 8 digs), Kehau Silva (5 kills), Tina Moger (5 kills, 6 digs, 3 service aces), and Holly Iloreta (7 digs).
“It feels good to start the second round with a win,” head coach Paul Arrington said near the locker room, “Kaua’i played a real tough match tonight but our girls simply did not give up. Our passing was not great at times but they stayed with it.”
“Kapa’a’s going to be a tough match but fortunately we’re at the friendly confines of our Clem Gomes Gymnasium which may give us a little bit of an advantage. They were real tough in preseason and I think they are beginning to reclaim some of that form with their win at the end of the first round.”
Waimea 15-13, 15-10
The first round champ Menehune boys also improved to 5-0 overall with the rare Thursday night victory over Kaua’i (1-4, 0-1 in the second round).
Jonathan Arakaki nailed an Aukai Dennis backset to trim a tight game one Menenhune lead to 14-13 but an unforced passing error gave the ball back to the visitors.
Raider middle Futi Tavana inexplicably found himself alone above the net to quickly slam down the Menehune point try as the game clock ticked off. Only a point down, Kaua’i still had a shot.
Waimea middle Casey Kaohelaulii’s solo rejection of a Raider kill attempt reclaimed the serve for teammate Joshua Vinzant and the senior co-captain induced a tight overpass which the duo of Kaohelaulii and Desmond Rodrigues rejected to end the set.
Kaua’i utilized the hard-nosed play of junior outside hitter Justin Toulon (in his first start) and the smart sets of Aukai Dennis to build up a 9-3 bulge in the second set only to watch the composed Menehunes chip away to tie the contest at 9-9.
Waimea eventually claimed a 12-10 advantage and the serve with 1:39 to play on Vinzant’s open roll shot down the line.
Three consecutive sets from Erwin Wright to co-captain Desmond Rodrigues found their way through and around the seemingly-insurmountable Raider double block to give the west-siders their first win in the KIF second round of play.
Rodrigues led all hitters with 10 kills, while Vinzant (9 kills), Wright (19 assists, 4 digs), Jeremy McDown (4 kills), and Norman Vea (4 digs) played well for the victors. In a limited-yet-critical reserve role, Mark Andres sparked the Waimea back row with three digs and a multitude of tough serve chances.
Tavana and Kamu Kawaihalau shared a team-high 6 kills for the Raiders, while Dennis dished out 18 hard-earned assists. Toulon’s well-rounded game included 4 kills and 5 digs and middle Eric Fujikawa (3 kills, 5 digs) also excelled.
“In the first set we tried a few new things tonight and I felt good about what we did,” Menehune head coach Bobby Kamakele said.
“The key in the second was how Mark (Andres) did when he came in. He got a couple of key digs, hustled, and got everyone up. Then Desmond (Rodrigues) did what he’s capable of. We controlled serve and passed very well tonight and I think our setters did a great job.”
Kapa’a (1-3 overall) travels to Waimea on Saturday for the Warrior second round opener with boys junior varsity action scheduled to commence at 3 p.m.