WAIMEA — The Waimea Menehune finished off the second-half of the season 6-0 Friday night, beating the Red Raiders of Kauai High School in four sets 25-11, 12-25, 25-15, 25-12 at Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea.
Having already secured the second-half title and the overall KIF championship with a win against the Island School Voyagers and a Red Raider loss on Tuesday, the Menehune used Friday’s match to prep for this year’s state tournament, as well as bid farewell to their six seniors: Lei Alejandro, Talia Young, Bailey San Agustin-Nordmeier, Kawena Warren, Mariyah Oliver and Ani Samio.
Since falling to the Red Raiders back on Sept. 20, Waimea has gone on a tear, finishing the season with eight straight victories en route to earning the first-half title.
Although finishing at the top of the KIF, head coach of the Menehune, Chad Delanoza, acknowledged that his team has had a roller coaster season.
“It’s been that kind of season for us,” said Delanoza. “But the good thing about it is that we’ve been battling. They showed it tonight and they showed it just going into the first-round playoff … they had to battle their way through.”
But in the first set, the Red Raiders didn’t put up much of a battle.
Looking sluggish and unmotivated, the Red Raiders allowed the Menehune to jump out to a quick 5-0 advantage on two kills from Warren, a kill a piece from Alejandro and Oliver.
The Red Raiders got on the board with a service error by the Menehune on the following play but allowed Waimea to score eight of the next nine points to push the Menehune lead to 11 at 13-2.
Kauai cut the Waimea advantage to nine at 14-5, but didn’t get any closer.
The Menehune earned their largest lead of the game on a Warren kill to put the score at 24-9. Warren recorded the final kill two plays later to secure a 25-11 set one victory for Waimea.
In set two, the tables turned and it was the Red Raiders that had all the energy.
The Red Raiders opened the second set with the three straight scores with two of those points coming on Menehune hitting errors.
Waimea put two points on the board on the following two plays on an Oliver kill and a Red Raider hitting error, but Kauai never relinquished their lead.
Kauai earned an ace from Adrienne Graycochea, two kills from Jondee Rivera and five Menehune miscues for a 11-6 advantage.
Waimea’s Alejandro put down a kill to narrow the Red Raider advantage to four on the next play, but the Menehune didn’t cut the lead down any more.
Kauai grabbed 11 of the set’s next 13 points to push set two out of reach at 22-9. Kauai’s Shawna Ogata earned two kills to set up match point at 24-12. Red Raider, Kawehi Harris, added the final touches with a kill of her own to grab a 25-12 set two victory for her squad.
At one set a piece, the Menehune and Red Raiders headed into the game’s third set.
In the early going, neither team allowed one another separation as the third set’s first 24 points saw eight ties and seven lead changes.
But it was at 12-12 when the Menehune finally put some separation between them and the Red Raiders.
Waimea tallied six straight points behind three kills from Warren, a kill from Alejandro and two Red Raider hitting errors.
Kauai scored just three more points the rest of the set as the Menehune went on to grab set three 25-15, giving Waimea a 2-1 set lead.
Aside from an early 3-1 lead to start the next set, the Red Raiders were never really in it in the fourth.
Behind seven kills from Alejandro, six from Warren and three from Oliver, the Menehune coasted to a 25-12 set four victory to put a cap on Friday’s match and their KIF season.
Delanoza believes that his team has ways to go before this year’s state tournament.
“It’s always a new animal when you get to Honolulu, it’s so competitive.” said Delanoza. “We need to be ready even more so and cannot have this roller coaster riding. We need to be on point, on cue with what we have.”
Delanoza will use next week to prepare his ladies for states which is set to begin on Oct. 29 in Honolulu.
Although falling short of a KIF title, head coach of the Red Raiders, Merrill Carvalho thought his girls had a great year.
“It was a really good season,” said Carvalho. “We had young girls on our team that had to grow and mature and we actually had our returnees that needed to take the leadership roles.”
Carvalho is excited for next year with all but two of his girls returning next season.
“The future looks bright for Kauai High School,” said Carvalho. “We’re going to be a lot more dedicated with our conditioning and style of play (next year).”
Waimea dominated at the net recording 52 total kills to Kauai’s 20.
Leading the attack for the Menehune on Friday night was Warren with 17 kills followed by teammates Oliver with 16 and Alejandro with 14.
For the Red Raiders, it was Harris with five kills followed by Rivera and Ogata with four a piece.
Waimea finishes the season at 12-2 while Kauai finishes at 7-6.
In JV action Friday night, the Menehune took home the victory over the Red Raiders 25-14, 5-25, 25-23.
At Island School, it was the Warriors of Kapaa who came out victorious in both junior varsity and varsity action against the Voyagers.
The JV Warriors took down Island School 25-1, 25-13, 25-10 while the varsity Warriors dropped the Voyagers 25-16, 25-16, 25-16.
Kapaa finishes tied for second at 7-6 while the Voyagers finish at 0-12.