Kanahele leads Menehune to three-set win

KAPA‘A — After missing an opportunity to put away Kaua‘i High School earlier this week, Waimea junior Mark Kanahele could have let that performance carry over to the next game.

Unfortunately for the Kapa‘a Warriors, Kanahele didn’t just regroup. He reloaded, then unleashed.

Kanahele rebounded to lead the Menehune to a three-set win over the Warriors, 25-9, 25-14, 25-7, Friday evening at Kapa‘a High School.

The Menehune lost a marathon five-set match against the Red Raiders on Tuesday, and Menehune coach Enoka Karratti said Kanahele and the Menehune had several chances to close out the game and failed. Karratti said Kanahele’s ability to rebound Friday night was key to a much easier route to victory for the Menehune.

“We told him to forget about it and let loose. We want him to be playing carefree out there,” Karratti said.

If Kanahele was carefree, it certainly didn’t show on the court. The Waimea junior soared above the net, spiking seven kills into the Warrior backcourt, often punctuating the points with a fist pump or yell.

Karratti said he liked the emotion he saw in the often soft-spoken Kanahele.

“He’s one of the most cool-headed guys, and to see him excited really fired the team up,” the coach said.

The Menehune took control of the Warriors from the opening serve.

The Menehune opened on a 10-3 run and didn’t slow down until the end of the third set.

Kaili Schumacher-Lagnundio led the Menehune with eight kills, closely followed by Keoni Ana’s five.

The Warriors regrouped in the second set and the score was tied at 8-all before the Menehune closed on a 17-6 rally to end the set.

Aggressive serves gave the Menehune a distinct edge, with Ana serving balls tight into the far corners of the Warrior end.

Karratti said Ana has Kapa‘a coach Matt Gonsalves said the Menehune serve put his team into a hole right away.

“Waimea’s so solid and they serve very well,” Gonsalves said. “They just kept the pressure on us.”

The Warriors are a young team that features only two returning varsity players, Gonsalves said. The coach pointed to several times throughout the game — such as the strong start to the second set and two consecutive blocks in the third — as positive points for the Warriors, but said the team needs to be more consistent in the future.

“There were those few times where we were able to compete,” Gonsalves said, “but we just have to be able to sustain that throughout the entire game.”

Jeremiah Obrero and Kainoa Colipano led the Warriors with four kills apiece.

In JV action, the Warriors evened the score with the Menehune by taking the match in three sets, 25-23, 27-29, 25-8.

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