Kapa‘a opens up 11th in the state

It’s finally here! The 2005-06 KIF regular season is about to get underway, in fact, tonight will be the first installment of KIF games, with volleyball kicking things off.

But according to second-year Kapa‘a High School varsity boys’ volleyball head coach Merrill Carvalho, this season is much different.

“I’m nervous about this season. I can tell you this much, on paper we’re supposed to win the KIF (title). We have lots of returnees and experience at the varsity level. Lyndon Pascual (captain), Daniel Rodrick, and Nate Beralas are the key returnees. We also picked up two players who quit last year, that stepped up this season,” Carvalho said. Kaina Kahaunaele and Chaz Galvez both quit last year due to lack of playing time and personal reasons.

“I think they missed out on the success we had last year. They committed themselves to working hard and matured a lot this year,” Carvalho said. The Warrior coach also noted that Henry Borges is a key addition to this year’s squad.

The Warriors, who played surprisingly strong last year, are ranked 11th in the state with 12 votes in the most recent Honolulu Star-Bulletin Boys’ Volleyball Top 10 poll.

“Talentwise we got it, but the boys stepped it up over the summer. We really had a good preseason this year. During the Waimea tournament we split with Iolani,” Carvalho said.

Kapa‘a also played alongside Kamehameha, the fourth-ranked team in the state, in another preseason tournament.

“Our passing sucked, but we did beat Maryknoll (7th, statewide) in that tournament,” Carvalho said.

The Kapa‘a and Waimea volleyball teams open up the year at the Bernice Hundley Gymnasium.

This year’s volleyball schedule has been changed with varsity-only action on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The girls’ match starts at 5 p.m. and the boys will follow no earlier than 6:30 p.m.

Also, the contests will be a best-of-five series, instead of previous years, where the format was best-of-three.

“I like the new format because most of the boys will be playing the same format if they make it to college. It really shows how deep you are and that’s where coaching comes into play,” Carvalho said.

Meanwhile, the JV teams will play in a round-robin tournament on Saturdays, starting at 10 a.m.

“It’s going to be an interesting season, but I’m nervous and excited at the same time. I think getting too complacent will hurt us. During our two preseason tournaments, we played down to our opponent’s level,” Carvalho said.

According to Carvalho, both Waimea and Kapa‘a are also tough this year.

“Waimea’s going to be tough. They are scrappy, plus they got Calsen (Agrade) and Chris (Newcomb). Kollin (Morikawa) is a very smart player. Kaua‘i has got some tall kids. Ryan (Nagaoka) is back and Jordan (Cox) totally impressed me; he’s going to be good. Clesson (Lee) is an aggressive player and I like his style,” Carvalho said.

But the buzz around town is clearly about Kapa‘a and its talented squad of athletes.

“There’s a lot of expectations to improve and win. They hear it around campus and in the community. We just have to play all 8 games to the best of our abilities,” Carvalho said.

Short sets: The Kapa‘a High School boys’ volleyball squad isn’t alone as far as state rankings for KIF schools. The Kaua‘i High School girls’ volleyball team is also ranked 11th in the state, according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin’s poll. The Red Raider girls have 17 votes, just one behind 10th-ranked Roosevelt. Punahou opens up as the top girls’ squad in the state and the top boys’ team as well. Libero anyone? The KIF adopted the libero position this season. For those of you who aren’t too sure what the position entails, well here goes: The libero is a designated back-row player, intended to be used as a ball-control specialist. The libero is allowed to replace any player in the back row without counting as a substitution. There is no limit to the number of libero replacements a team is allowed. Coaches corner: Waimea girls’ varsity volleyball head coach Chad Delanoza is in his first year at the helm of the Menehune girls’ program. He is a westsider by heart and originally wanted to coach in Waimea. Instead Delanoza assisted Kaua‘i girls’ varsity head coach Rich Roberts. Jacque Inouye will take over, with help from Lorna Tresler-Basquez as the coaches for the defending champion Red Raider boys’ varsity squad. Shawn Doo, last year’s coach, flew the coop to O‘ahu and you might see him coaching an O‘ahu school sometime soon. Merrill Carvalho (Kapa‘a boys), Kaipo Kealalio Jr. (Kapa‘a girls), Rich Roberts (Kaua‘i girls), and Bobby Kamakele (Waimea boys) round out the 2005-06 varsity volleyball coaching positions.

KIF Volleyball

• Waimea at Kapa‘a, Tonight

• Girls: 5 p.m., Boys: 6:30 p.m.

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