LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i Red Raider volleyball team may take awhile to get going, but once it does it’s hard to stop them.
Like a car starting in fifth gear, the Red Raider offense was slow to start in the first set, and chugged through the second before finally screaming through the third in a three-set sweep of Waimea, 25-21, 25-20, 25-19, Tuesday night at Kaua‘i High School.
In the first two sets the teams traded blows without either taking a big lead. As the set closed the Red Raiders finally kicked into gear.
“We’re a very slow starting team,” Kaua‘i head coach Merill Carvalho said. “We started slow again tonight, but we gained momentum throughout the game.”
The Red Raiders, a group of “High-flyers” as Waimea head coach Chad Delanoza calls them, sprayed the Waimea side of the court with shots from an array of players.
The Raiders had four players who had at least three kills in the match.
“That shows Waimea — or any other school we play — that they can’t just defend against one player,” Carvalho said. “They have to defend against three or four.”
Carvalho credited setter Jennifer Grady for helping the Raiders above the net attack.
“She did a great job spreading the ball out for us,” Delanoza said.
The first two times the Raiders and the Menehune met, the Menehune thrived on their ability to limit unforced errors. While the Red Raiders routinely hit balls into the net or out of bounds, Delanoza’s squad kept the ball in play and came away with wins.
Delanoza said it was a role reversal for the two teams that doomed the Menehune.
“They just made plays and we didn’t,” Delanoza said. “We had too many unforced errors. They made the plays in the crucial times and situations.”
Delanoza said it was Kaua‘i’s ability to mix their high-octane offense with discipline that finally pushed the Raiders past the Menehune in the teams’ third meeting.
“They have a lot of talent on their team,” Delanoza said. “They were able to pick and choose where they wanted to hit it. Tonight they were the better team.”
Reanna Javinar led the Raiders with 6 kills in the game. Jordyn Zeffiro added 4 kills while Jannin Hashizume, Leiana Alejandro and Shyanne Sadora added 3 kills apiece.
Vakeesha Lagazo led the Menehune with 7 kills while Mariyah Oliver added three to the Waimea total.
In JV action at Kaua‘i, the Red Raiders won in straight sets over the Menehune 25-10, 25-21, 25-19. In Kapa‘a the Warriors downed the Island School Voyagers 25-9, 25-21, 25-16. In the upset of the night, the Voyagers JV squad defeated the Warriors, 25-11, 25-20, 15-25.