Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023 |
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LIHU‘E — It was a long time coming for this group of Kaua‘i High School seniors, but the Raider Wahine handed the Waimea Lady Menehune their first loss in two years with a clutch performance in Friday night’s regular season finale at the Kaua‘i High School gym.
The Raiders pulled out a 25-13, 18-25, 25-22, 25-19 victory with some of their best shot making of the season, led by senior outside hitter Malia Kagawa’s 25 kills in the match.
Waimea (11-1) was aiming for its second consecutive undefeated season and another KIF league championship, but Kaua‘i (9-3) prolonged the season at least one more match by getting the win and putting each team at 5-1 in the season’s second round.
A playoff will be played at 6:30 p.m., Monday night at Kaua‘i High School to determine a second-round champ.
A Waimea victory would give it the outright season title, while a Kaua‘i win would then bring a season championship playoff match into effect.
Kaua‘i used the emotion of Senior Night to jump out of the gates with a superb opening set.
Saryna Garcia, Noe Tamashiro, Teal Basquez, Waileia Kanealii and Kagawa, all honored before the match in what could have been their final go on the court together, led Kaua‘i to a quick 6-1 advantage.
Back-to-back aces from Jennifer Grady made it a 15-7 Raiders edge, then Basquez also had two straight serves fall in the Waimea half of the court to give Kaua‘i a 19-11 advantage.
Holding 11 set points at 24-13, Kaua‘i wasted little time as Kagawa finished off her eighth kill of the set on Kanealii’s 10th assist for the 1-0 lead in the match.
Waimea stormed right back and reversed the teams’ roles as it jumped out to a 6-1 lead of its own in the second set.
The Lady Menehune maintained that margin throughout, behind the strong net play of Brandee Victorino, who had four kills and 3.5 blocks in the set.
Holding a 24-18 lead, setter Fiare Moe sent a feed to Jayme Jacinto, who finished off her fourth kill of the set to even up the match at 1-1.
Seeming more determined, Kaua‘i took a 9-1 lead in the third set, including aces from Kanealii and Shyanne Sadora.
Holding its biggest lead at 13-4, the Raiders then saw the Lady Menehune charge back into contention with a 9-1 run of their own, then taking the lead at 18-17.
It would be their only lead of the set, as Kaua‘i went back up by three at 22-19 on a Kagawa ace that clipped the net and fell harmlessly to the floor.
Waimea saved one set point, but leading 24-22, Reanna Javinar closed it out with a kill to move Kaua‘i within one set of a landmark win.
Trailing 5-2 early in the fourth, Kaua‘i used a 7-1 run to gain a three-point lead.
The two teams played evenly for much of the set, with Tamashiro marking an ace to give Kaua‘i a 20-15 lead and force a Waimea timeout.
Though closing out sets has been difficult for Kaua‘i throughout the season, it did not waver late in the fourth and a Kagawa kill gave the Raiders five match points at 24-19.
They needed just one as Kanealii ended a long rally with a short shot over the net falling away, she and her teammates diving into a pile on the court immediately as the ball hit the floor.
Both teams showed their emotions following the contest, as Waimea had another perfect season in its sights, while Kaua‘i was able to beat the one team that has had its number for two seasons.
The teams converged at the scorer’s table and Kaua‘i was the fortunate side with the coin flip, which determined the location of Monday’s match.
Javinar finished the night with 10 kills and seven blocks. Basquez tallied nine kills — five in the final set — five digs and an ace.
Sadora notched eight kills to go with 8.5 blocks. Tamashiro led her side with seven digs.
Kanealii had a match-high 39 assists.
Jacinto led the Waimea side with 12 kills, followed by Victorino with 10 and seven blocks.
Robin Moura had six kills and 1.5 blocks, while Jazzy Bradbury totaled six kills and a block.
Moe led her side with 17 assists, followed by 11 for Searra Kaohi.
Vakeesha Lagazo came up with eight digs.
Kaua‘i came up with a sweep in the junior varsity match, capturing a 25-20, 25-26, 25-21 victory.
In their final match of the year, the Kapa‘a Lady Warriors (4-8) swept both the JV and varsity matches against Island School (0-12), though not without plenty of resistance.
Kapa‘a prevailed in the varsity match 25-22, 25-22, 25-20. It came away with a 25-10, 25-15, 28-26 win in JV, needing a comeback to take the third set.
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