KAPA‘A — Needing to win only one of their final two matches to claim the 2012 KIF boys volleyball title, the Waimea Menehune wanted to finish their business early.
They accomplished that goal Tuesday night despite an inspired effort from the Kapa‘a Warriors.
The Menehune beat the Warriors in three sets, 28-26, 25-15, 25-19 to clinch Round 2 of the season and lay claim to the overall season title.
Although the Menehune came into the match undefeated against their Eastside rival, the Warriors gave the Menehune a run in the first set. The teams traded points until the Menehune led 10-9. But the Waimea lead gave way to a 9-3 run to give the Warriors a 18-13 lead. But as they have all season, the Menehune battled back — led by eight first set kills from senior Kaili Schumacher-Lagundino and precise sets from Jonathan Tangalin — to claim the set 28-26.
Kapa‘a head coach Matt Gonsalves said the Menehune are a team that can come back from any defect, and the failure to put them away came back to haunt the Warriors.
“They’re such a tough team,” Gonsalves said of the champs. “If you have them down you have to finish them. They’re such a solid team.”
After the first set scare, the Menehune transitioned into the team that hasn’t lost since its season opener against the Kaua‘i Red Raiders last month.
The Menehune used a balanced attack and vicious serves to dismantle the Warriors over the final two sets. To begin the third set, Schumacher-Lagundino opened with three consecutive aces.
The Menehune had nine aces total in the match.
It was senior night for Kapa‘a, and the Warriors sent off the only two seniors on its roster. Gonsalves said with a roster chalk full of younger players, he’s excited for next season but his team needs to learn how to close.
“Tonight was a microcosm of the whole season for us,” he said. “We looked good in the first set and then let it slip away. It’s small things that keep us from winning. We have a lot of guys coming back next year, and hopefully they’ll use these opportunities as a lesson for the future.”
In JV action, the Warriors defeated the Menehune in three sets, 26-23, 26-24, 25-21. The scores from the Red Raiders match against the Island School Voyagers wasn’t available by the time The Garden Island went to press.
• Tyson Alger, sports writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or by emailing talger@ thegardenisland.com. Follow him on twitter.com/tysonalger.