WAIMEA — The Kapaa High School girls volleyball team opened the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season with its junior varsity and varsity girls posting wins against Waimea Wednesday night at the Clem Gomes Gym.
The Kapaa JV girls walked off with a 2-1 win, dropping its opening match 26-24 to the Junior Menehune before rebounding to strong 25-6 and 25-9 wins.
During the varsity matches, the Warrior wahine overcame opening game jitters to claim the win in three sets, 25-19, 25-14 and 25-21.
“It took a team to win tonight,” said coach Evan Costa. “I was asked on Tuesday what I felt about Waimea. The Menehune are always tough. They’re well-coached and I totally respect the program. On defense, they’re especially tough because the ball rarely hits the floor — the girls never give up.”
Waimea closed to within a digit, 9-8, in the opening set when Caitlyn Owen served an ace, but Kapaa answered with five unanswered points and built to Tori Daligcon’s slam up the middle which gave the Warriors a 16-9 edge.
Kapaa continued to build on that lead. Tafea Paea dumped one in the middle for the 19-10 lead and co-captain Eryka Keoho, one of three seniors on the squad, set up the end with a back row kill.
In the second set, Shania Kahepuu dumped the ball up the middle to pull Waimea to within a point, 9-8, its closest margin. Kapaa charged again, highlighted by a desperation bump save by setter Kunani Tuttle, who lunged into the stands and sent the ball back into play where Daligcon closed the door for the 13-10 lead.
Haaheo Mahinai entered the spotlight, getting an opposite side hit for the 19-12 lead before sealing the set with a kill.
Kapaa held off Waimea in the final set, but not before the Menehune forced at least five ties during the game, Brandee Burton deadlocking the match on a shot, 6-6.
“We got the big girl to play,” Costa said, placing Siokapesi “Pesi” Paua in the middle where she put Kapaa up 11-7 on a block.
Waimea pulled even at 11-11 when Maria Foisaga served an ace.
Another Keoho back row kill gave Kapaa a 22-20 lead, followed by Kamalani Hopkins firing from the opposite side for the 23-21 edge. Paua sealed the deal, combining with Keoho for a tandem block and then Hopkins for the 25-21 final.
“We’re going to be known as ‘The Village People,’” Costa said. “It really does take a village to care for the team.”