There’s no secret recipe for success for Kapa’a’s boys volleyball squad.
On Wednesday night, the men in green grabbed the first round title and moved to a perfect 4-0 record, after dismantling the defending champion Kaua’i Red Raider squad in four sets, 25-15, 22-25, 25-13, 25-23.
The senior-rich Kapa’a squad dropped its first set of the season at the Bernice Hundley Gymnasium, but according to head coach Merrill Carvalho, the loss was an eye opener.
“It felt good to lose (a set). It put the boys and myself back to reality. It was just to send us a note that anyone can beat us and we’re not that dominant yet. That’s what happens when you get a little too complacent,” Carvalho noted.
Nonetheless, the Warriors stormed back and finished off the Red Raiders in the final two sets.
“Half of the pressure is off as far as winning is concerned and if we should slip up in the second round for some reason, we know that we have that championship game to rely upon, but if we do take care of business, we’re going to be the overall champions,” Carvalho said.
Before the start of the season, the second-year head man was a bit nervous, because he really didn’t know what to expect from his squad, who holds down the 10th spot in the recent Honolulu Star-Bulletin poll.
“I think they are playing more like brothers than individuals. I think because they see the success from last year to this year, they are putting more effort into becoming a team,” Carvalho said.
With the second round coming up next week, Carvalho and his team will have to keep the pressure on.
“I’m looking forward to another round of good volleyball. It’s going to be very intense. They know what we have and our goal from the start was to win KIF and it hasn’t been done in over 10 years (for the boys) since we won the title. It would be a big blessing for our seniors,” Carvalho said.
The eight seniors (Nate Borales, Henry Borges, Ray Chevlin, Waioli Forrest, Lyndon Pascual, Chris Ramelb, Chaz Galvez, and Kaina Kahaunaele), along with the underclassmen, will have a two- week break from the books, starting Monday.
“I think the boys are physicially tired. We took yesterday off as well as today, so we won’t start up practice until Monday, but the boys deserve some time off to rest,” Carvalho said.
Physcially they’ll enjoy the rest, but emotionally, Carvalho will take the time off without hesitation.
“As far as the emotion part, I think they control me more; sometimes we don’t have perfect practices, if we were perfect we would be ranked number one in the state. On Wednesday night I was nervous and the boys noticed that, but they keep me in check.”
“I told them at the beginning that if you put the team first, we’re going to do good,” Carvalho said.
The Kapa’a girls seem to have adopted that approach as well, finishing 4-0, with the first round title in hand.
“Our girls played awesome this first round. I’m glad they played before us, they give me inspiration. They weren’t the favorite this year, but they sure are acting like the favorites,” Carvalho said.
Priorities at the high school level can sometimes take a twist for the worse, but Carvalho has his boys going in the right direction.
“What I told the boys is that priorities should look like this: Family first, school second, volleyball third, then personal life stuff. The one benefit to our break is that the boys don’t have to worry about school or homework. They just come to practice and go and do whatever they want,” Carvalho said.
And whatever the Warriors have been doing throughout the first round should be kept in their memories, so they can go back and rekindle that same type of fire, which led them to the first round KIF title.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or firstname.lastname@example.org