Menehune sweep Warriors in season opener

KAPAA — The Waimea Menehune varsity girl’s volleyball team picked up where it left off last season, taking down the Warriors of Kapaa 25-12, 25-22, 25-21 in Wednesday’s KIF opener at Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa.  

Waimea coach Chad Delanoza was happy with his team’s performance in the first set but said his players didn’t sustain their intensity.

“The second and third match we settled in too much,” said Delanoza. “We kind of lost focus and sight.”

Led by hitters Mariyah Oliver, Kawena Warren and Caitlyn Owen, the Menehune jumped out to a 16-3 lead in the first set.

The Warriors, who looked to be encountering some first game jitters in front of a crowd of about 500 people, did not help their cause, giving up more than a handful of points due to unforced errors in the game’s opening set.

While the Warriors lost the first set and fell behind early in the second, they settled down. Sparked by a pair of blocks by Tori Daligcon-Pomaikai in the second set, Kapaa surged back from a 5-1 deficit to tie the score at 7-7.

From there, Kapaa grabbed a slim 17-15 lead over Waimea.

But the Menehune responded with eight straight points from Oliver and Alejandro to tip the score back in their favor, 21-17.

Oliver added a couple more kills and a few key digs to secure the second game for Waimea.

Riding momentum from the second set, Waimea followed the script that was in place all night and took an early 10-4 lead.

With the score at 18-10 in the third game, the Menehune looked as if they would coast to victory in the final set, but they didn’t make things easy.

After five hitting errors, one passing error, a serving error and an ace by Kapaa’s Kaiemi Moniz, the third set was deadlocked at 18.

Like the second set, the Menehune would eventually create distance. Oliver added three kills late in the final set to cap off the win, pushing the Menehune’s regular-season winning streak, that dates back to last year, to 13.

Although Delanoza said his team got complacent, he considered Wednesday’s game a learning experience.

“It’s only going to help us, it’s a good lesson for us all the time that we cannot sit back and take our time.”

Warriors coach Evan Costa, shared a similar reaction of his team and echoed Delanoza’s statements.

“It’s a learning curve for us,” Costa said. “But I’m very happy, very pleased with our girls and the effort that they put out.”

Mariyah Oliver led the Menehune with 15 kills on the match. Chipping in with eight kills a piece was Kawena Warren, Caitlyn Owen and Lei Alejandro.

The Warriors were led by Eryka Keoho and Kunani Tuttle, who finished the game with five kills each.

In JV action, Kapaa defeated Waimea, 15-25, 25-11, 26-24.

Over at Island School, the Kauai Red Raiders earned their first win of the season, dropping the Voyagers in straight sets, 25-14, 25-7, 25-16.

The JV of Kauai High took care of business and swept the JV Voyagers 25-5, 25-16, 25-19.

KIF girl’s volleyball action continues Saturday with Kapaa traveling to Kauai High School to take on the Red Raiders and the Voyagers visiting the Menehune of Waimea High School. Both matches begin with the JV at 5 p.m., with the varsity to follow no earlier than 6:30 p.m.

• Tyson Agbayani, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or tagbayani@thegardenisland.com.

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