KAPAA — The Kapaa Warriors followed up a five-set victory over the Menehune of Waimea Saturday night with another five-game thriller Tuesday, this time dropping the Kauai High Red Raiders at Bernice Hundley Gym 25-22, 25-23, 16-25, 12-25, 15-13.
Warriors coach Evan Costa was happy with his team and thought they were able to build off last week’s victory.
“Tonight they showed they had heart,” he said. “I told them that this game would be a tougher game because of (the task of) making it believable.”
In the game’s first set, the Red Raiders jumped out to a 6-0 lead behind five Warrior hitting errors and an ace from Amanda Cadavona. Kauai kept their distance for much of the first set and held a 15-10 lead.
But the Warriors battled back to tie the game at 17-17.
Kapaa rode momentum the rest of the way to gain a set one victory, aided by two key aces from Brianee Cabacungan, three kills from Kunani Tuttle and one kill from Tori Daligcon-Pomaikai.
The game’s second set was almost identical as the first, as the Red Raiders started off strong with another a 6-0 lead. Keeping their foot on the gas pedal, Kauai was able to stretch that lead to 15-8.
But just like the opening set, the Warriors responded, tying the game at 16-16 behind two kills a piece from Madisson Hinkel and Cabacungan, a block from Tuttle and three errors from Kauai.
The Red Raiders held a 22-19 lead in the set, but failed to put away the Warriors as Kapaa stormed back to take the 25-23 set victory.
Costa thought his team gave too much “aloha” in the first two sets causing them to fall behind.
“We gave up too many balls,” said Costa. “We cannot do that against these two (Waimea) teams. Both of these teams are going to make you pay.”
And making Kapaa pay was what the Red Raiders did in the third set.
The Red Raiders grabbed a big lead in the third and held it. Leading the charge for Kauai with three kills each were hitters Jondee Rivera and Harley Kaeo. Gilian Gregorio also chipped in with two blocks, one of them being the final point in their 25-16 set three victory.
The Red Raiders carried the momentum into the fourth set. Leading start to finish, Kauai grabbed their second set victory 25-12.
Kauai coach Merrill Carvalho asked his team before sets three and four to give him all they had.
“I just asked them to give me one set, To be selfish and win the third set,” said Carvalho. “I said the same thing for the fourth set, ‘Give me one more set to tie it up.’”
The Warriors and Red Raiders duked it out in the fifth and final set.
Kapaa grabbed a 11-7 lead, but the Red Raiders evened it at 13-13. The Warriors scored the next two points to give them a 15-13 set five victory, thanks to a kill from Hinkel and an error from the Red Raiders.
Carvalho saw complacency as a problem for his team giving up leads in the first two sets.
“When we get a big lead like that you tend to get complacent,” said Carvalho. “Then you lose focus, not playing defense, not moving your feet, just the simple things that we didn’t execute when we had the lead.”
Carvalho thought Tuesday’s loss will help him prepare his team better in the future.
Kapaa and Kauai are tied for second place in the KIF with a record of 3-2.
In JV action, Kapaa took home the victory over the Red Raiders winning all three sets 27-25, 25-16, 25-16.
At Island School, the Menehune of Waimea varsity and junior varsity teams swept the Voyagers.
The varsity won 25-12, 25-12, 25-19, while the JV won 25-10, 25-22, 25-13.
KIF volleyball action continues Friday with the Menehune of Waimea visiting Kauai High to take on the Red Raiders and the Kapaa Warriors hosting the Voyagers of Island School. If both the Warriors and the Red Raiders are able to secure victories Friday, there would be a three way tie for the top spot in the KIF between the two teams and Waimea, leading to a playoff next week. Friday’s matches begin with 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.