KAPA‘A — The Kaua‘i Red Raiders took a four-match winning streak into Kapa‘a High School Tuesday night. After five sets of volleyball, the Red Raiders emerged with a fifth straight win but it wasn’t easy.
Following a three-set sweep against Kaua‘i two weeks ago, the Warriors rebounded but Kapa‘a eventually fell just short. The Red Raiders won, 25-17, 22-25, 25-16, 21-25, 15-11.
The Raiders at times were brilliant with aggressive attacks and steady passing and defense, but in sets two and four, as the Warriors attacked, the Raiders began to struggle.
“There are two things we need to work on: communication and if we have a breakdown to not let the other team get back into the game,” Kaua‘i head coach Merril Carvalho said. “If we do those things we play at a high level. If we don’t, we don’t.”
The Red Raiders cruised through the first set, and after the third set it looked as if the Raiders would coast to the win. But the Warriors put on the breaks and forced a fifth set, something that Kapa‘a coach Correy Morishita said probably wouldn’t have happened earlier in the year.
“This is a big step for us,” Morishita said. “We’re much better now than the last time we played them. We’re playing better defense. We’re digging the ball off the floor better.”
Morishita said it was a strong effort from both his starters and reserves that kept the Warriors in it.
The fifth set could have gone either way up until the end. The two teams traded blows until it was 11-10 Kapa‘a.
The Red Raiders then rattled off three quick points, including a kill from Reanna Javinar and an ace by Shyanne Sadora to push the score to 13-11.
On the next point, as Sadora was serving, the referee blew his whistle and awarded a point to the Red Raiders.
The point was awarded because the ref said a Warrior player was on the mid-court line, Morishita said.
With the score at 14-11, the Red Raiders attacked strong and the Warriors finally gave way.
Carvalho, although frustrated at times with the play of his team, said he was proud of the way the players stayed strong at the end. The Red Raiders may have had lapses earlier in the game, but when it mattered most, Carvalho said his team came through.
Carvalho also echoed Morishita, saying this wasn’t the same Warrior team that the Red Raiders swept earlier this season.
“They played a lot better,” Carvalho said. “They served tough and picked up a lot of balls. We were very fortunate that we were finally able to limit our errors there at the end.”
Scores from the Waimea vs. Island School game in Waimea were unavailable at press time.