LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i Red Raiders volleyball team has always had the potential to score points quickly. Friday night that potential turned into reality.
The Raiders used quick, aggressive play to dispatch the Kapa‘a Warriors in straight sets, 25-15, 25-16, 25-17, at the Kapa‘a High School gym.
The first set teeter-tottered between the two teams until it was 13-14 Kapa‘a. Then the Raiders caught fire to finish the set on a 12-1 run — highlighted by three straight kills from senior Shyanne Sadora — and the Warriors couldn’t do anything to cool their rivals off.
“We basically went and reinvented the wheel this week at practice,” Kaua‘i head coach Merril Carvalho said. “We told our outside hitter to be patient and take advantage when they could.”
The high-flying Red Raiders out-killed the Warriors 21-7.
Sophomore Leiana Alejandro led Kaua‘i with eight kills of her own. Carvalho said Alejandro has been one of his most consistent players so far this season, which is impressive for her age.
“She’s a sophomore out there playing as a senior,” Carvalho said. “She’s playing out there with the seniors with experience and she has two more years to get better.”
Alejandro said gaining the experience with the seniors on the court only makes her better.
“Playing with them out there really makes me push myself,” Alejandro said. “I thought as a team we played really well today.”
For Kapa‘a, the Warriors fell hard after an inspiring win on Tuesday at Waimea.
The Warriors had many unforced errors and struggled to push to ball forward to attack.
“We didn’t play very good tonight,” Kapa‘a head coach Corey Morishita said. “We couldn’t pass.”
Morishita said it was no surprise that Kaua‘i came out so aggre ssive.
“They have probably the most athletic team,” he said. “They have a lot of seniors. They should be playing like this.”
Through the first 30 points of the first set, the two teams exchanged the lead six times. There were also 12 times in those first 30 points where the score was tied.
It seemed like the teams were in for a long night, but down 13-14, the Red Raiders scored 11 straight points to blow the set away.
Carvalho said the streak started when the Red Raiders started serving more aggressively.
“That was the difference for us,” Carvalho said. “It put them on the move.”
While the Raiders cruised through the match, they didn’t come away unscathed. In the third set Sadora came down hard on her right leg. It appeared like she suffered an ankle injury and she was helped off of the court by team trainers. Carvalho said he didn’t know the extent of Sadora’s injury.
“Hopefully she can be ready for our next game,” Carvalho said of Sadora, who at the point of her injury had six kills on the night. “She’s one of our key players. If she’s out our bench is going to have to step up.”
In other action across the island, the Waimea Menehune downed the Island School Voyagers in straight sets. The Menehune cruised to a 25-10, 25-6, 25-11 win. In JV action at Waimea, the Menehune edged by the Voyagers, 25-12, 18-25, 25-16.
The Kaua‘i JV won it’s series 25-10, 25-8 and 25-12.