LIHUE — The ball could have gone either way as it wobbled on the edge of the net Saturday night at the Clem Gomes Gym.
Fortunately for Kauai High School, the ball rolled to the outside, and gave the Red Raiders a 25-23 edge over Waimea before another big crowd at the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea.
Kauai High School, playing in Waimea because its gym was being utilized for the centennial carnival, picked up its second straight win in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation, the junior varsity teams going 3-0 — 25-5, 25-18, and 25-9 — and the varsity walking off in three sets, 25-17, 25-23 and 25-13.
Kauai’s varsity ran into problems, giving up five points before coach Dorene Matias called a time out to regroup.
“Waimea is a tough team,” Matias said. “You can’t give them anything because they’ll capitalize on any little thing.”
The time out worked as the Red Raiders settled down. Then, a tandem block by Leisa Eto and Mie Miller deadlocked the opening set, 6-6.
Another combo block by Shawna Ogata and Miller put Kauai up 10-7, but Waimea battled back. An ace from Caitlyn Owen got Waimea to within 1 before Kauai ended the match on a Harley Kaeo kill.
“We still need to practice hard,” Matias said. “We need to work on technique, skill, and an even better understanding of the game.”
Waimea opened the second set in the same fashion as the first, Owen’s hits giving Waimea a 2-0 lead, which she followed with a back row slam for a 3-1 lead.
The Menehune controlled play through the waning moments of the set when Kauai’s Tarha Kaui, a co-captain, hit an ace for the 21-22 deficit. A Waimea hitting error deadlocked the match, 22-22 before Kaeo’s hit put Kauai up 23-22.
A pair of Waimea miscues ended the match in Kauai’s favor.
“Waimea really battled in the second set,” Mathias said. “They are a really tough team and played well in the set. We really need to work on our court play and have our girls get faster.”
Kauai came out strong in the third set, Adrienne Graycochea got a kill for the 6-1 Kauai lead. Another Graycochea hit saw Kauai with a 13-6 lead. Ogata pounded one from the opposite side for a 15-9 Raider lead which was never challenged for the remainder of the game.
“We have our really big game coming up Tuesday against Kapaa on their home court,” Matias said. “This game will give us a good assessment of where our girls are after all these weeks of practice.”
The junior varsity game serves up at 5 p.m. at the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa with the varsity match starting no earlier than 6:30 p.m.
Waimea will host Island School with the JV game starting at 5 p.m. and the varsity starting no earlier than 6:30 p.m.
Kapaa High beats Island School
Kapaa High School’s girls volleyball defeated Island School in straight sets Saturday night to remain unbeaten in Kauai Interscholastic Federation play.
The Warriors (2-0 KIF) won by scores of 25-5, 25-12, 25-9.
Despite the sweep, Kapaa head coach Evan Costa said his team was struggling in that it didn’t execute what they had practiced.
“We had a game plan. We had a goal. We were trying to pick up the tempo,” Costa said. “It’s hard to get to do this, trying to get our girls to think. We tried to push the tempo and we didn’t accomplish that.
“We run our girls hard. We only have nine girls on varsity. Everyone plays. Everyone has a role. We’re just trying to get our kids to prepare and think out on that court,” the Warriors coach added.
Warriors senior outside hitter Eryka Keoho said she and her teammates did well enough to win, but could have played better.
“We stayed together as a team and brought each other up,” she said. “When we do something bad, we just need to pick ourselves up and everyone around us needs to pick each other up.”
Although Island School (0-2 KIF) started its season with two losses back-to-back, improvement was seen.
The Voyagers played much more aggressively compared to its season opener against Kauai on Wednesday.
“This game, they didn’t play nervous … we had a lot of long rallies on both sides,” said Island School head coach Brad Sato. “I think just believing in themselves. Thinking that they can do it no matter what the cause, they’re going to go out there and do it.
“This game, it was like there’s nothing to lose. You might as well go out and try their best.”
Voyagers junior setter Brianna Griep said they had much more hustle and energy this time around.
“We’re still growing and still trying to progress,” Griep said. “We have a bunch of girls moved up who have never been on a varsity team … We had a lot to practice off of what happened in the first game. We just knew we could do better.”
On Tuesday, Kapaa will play its home opener against Kauai and Island School will play at Waimea. Junior varsity games begin at 5 p.m. and the varsity will begin no earlier than 6:30 p.m.
“The mentality of our girls is no matter who’s on the other side, just work on your game,” Costa said about the upcoming matchup with the Red Raiders. “Kauai High is tough, they’re deep and they’re the most experienced this year in KIF.
“It starts between the ears. Preparing mentally. Then we can build from there. Try to put them in scenarios, how to adjust in certain scenarios. Physically, we’re OK,” he added.