Waimea wins to open KIF volleyball season

WAIMEA — The Waimea Menehune volleyball team wasn’t flashy on Tuesday night, but they didn’t need to be.

The Menehune brushed aside dropping the first set to come back and down the Kaua‘i High School Red Warriors at Waimea High School to begin the KIF volleyball season.

After falling 25-22 to the high-flying Warriors, the girls recovered and won the next three sets, 27-25, 25-19 and 25-16.

“We got a little worried after the first set,” Waimea head coach Chad Delanoza said. “We’ve been rebuilding and have had a few injuries but we were able to recover there after the first set.”

Kaua‘i looked to be in control after the first set and a half. The Raiders cruised in the first set, stymieing a few futile Menehune rallies en route to the first set win. The Raiders then jumped out to an 18-10 lead in the second set. But just as it seemed like the Red Raiders might run away with the match, the Waimea girls dug their feet in the ground and the Kaua‘i girls couldn’t find the floor within the boundaries.

The Kaua‘i strong air attack faltered and many of the kill attempts that worked in the first part of the match either found a waiting Waimea player or sailed out of bounds.

“We made a lot of errors tonight,” Kaua‘i head coach Merrill Carvalho said. “Then Waimea just started making plays.”

When the Raiders started making errors, Delanoza said he told his team to focus on the fundamentals. The Red Raiders controlled the rallies but the Menehune were resilient and didn’t make any mistakes.

“We’ve been practicing all week on our defense with blocks and digs,” Delanoza said. “We can let them jump to the top of the net all they want, we just got to be able to control the ball and hope for the best.”

The final two sets saw the Raiders attempt to make comebacks. In the third set, the Menehune had jumped out to a 10-3 lead before Kaua‘i countered to come as close as 12-15 before the Menehune pulled away.

The Menehune started quick again in the fourth set, jumping out to leads of 7-2 and 21-9 before Kaua‘i closed the gap.

Over at Island School, the Kapa’a Warriors cruised to a three set victory. The Warriors easily handed the Voyagers their first loss of the season with Kapa‘a sweeping 25-14, 25-23 and 25-10.

In JV action at Island School the Warriors again topped the Voyagers, eking out a close three set victory, 25-17, 28-30, 27-25.

• Tyson Alger, sports writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or by emailing talger@ thegardenisland.com. Follow him on twitter.com/tysonalger.Follow him on twitter.com/tysonalger.

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