PUHI — The Island School Voyagers junior varsity volleyball team made history Tuesday night, winning its series over Waimea, 2-1.
The victory overflowed onto the varsity team, but Waimea held firm to take that series, 3-0 — 25-21, 25-15, 25-12.
“I was almost ready to go home,” said Royden Kabazawa, uncle of Kehau Regidor, the Island School JV coach. “Island School JV took the first set 25-21 and dropped the second set, 18-25. I was going to get my hot dog and just leave.”
But Kabazawa stayed the course and watched through the third set where the Voyagers traded blows with Waimea to win the set, 25-22.
Regidor said the key was the girls keeping the ball in play and not trying to get hard hits.
“I told them in the beginning to move positive,” Regidor said. “That means in words and body language. I need to catch my breath. A lot of the girls were on vacation during fall break and didn’t make practice. This is Island School’s first-ever win in volleyball.”
Regidor credits the setters with keeping the ball in play, and her libero, Summer Mead, doing well.
“I was a libero, so I might have been harder on her,” Regidor said. “All of the girls have been getting more confident with the ball.”
The victory may have sparked the varsity play because Island School stayed close through the first set, taking the lead for the first two sets.
“Lots and lots of props to the JV girls,” said Brad Sato, Voyagers varsity coach. “At school, there is always a battle between the JV and the varsity girls, and the varsity girls wanted to do well following the JV win.”
The Voyagers led up to point 15 in the opening set before Waimea’s Kanoe Ana served up three straight points to give Waimea a 17-15 lead.
Caitlyn Owen went up the middle for the 18-16 Menehune bulge before a Waimea hitting error deadlocked the score, 18-18.
Alyssa Pigao went up the middle on a slide for the 20-18 lead and Maria Foisaga found the net from the back to seal the win.
“We had a few of our girls out sick,” said Chad Delanoza, Waimea coach. “The Island School JV win was a good thing for their varsity because it sparked their play. They had the lead for the first two sets.”
Autumn Warnock set the pace for the Voyagers in the second set, dumping the ball up the middle and getting a solid block to knot the set, 3-3. Another Warnock block coupled with a Waimea passing error, an ace from Anne Cushnie and a Warnock hit to bring the Voyagers to an 8-4 lead.
Brandee Burton, sharing the middle duties with Owen, pushed one over for the 7-10 deficit before an Island School passing error moved Waimea into the lead, 13-10.
Warnock came up with a dramatic one-armed save, but the effort fell short as Waimea increased its lead 18-10 before Pigao sealed the deal with five straight points.
“The girls had a lot of hustle,” Sato said. “With just six girls, they’ve got to hustle. They stepped up, tonight. Normally, we start rough and finish strong. Tonight, the girls had the lead in two sets before sputtering. We had errors happening at the most inopportune times.”
Waimea capitalized on those miscues in the third set, Ariell Lazaro getting the first point and the Menehune staying in control throughout before Foisaga sealed the win.
“This was Caitlyn’s first time playing the middle in her high school career,” Delanoza said. “She had big plays in the middle and earned every single kill. We simply did what we had to do because we were out sick and came away with the win.”
Sato said the Voyagers, in addition to Warnock, got strong play from Katie Davidson, Ali Temmie and Brianna Griep.
“Brianna had a lot of good touches, tonight,” Sato said. “Tonight was good for the girls. During the time out (when Island School had the lead), I asked them if they were excited, and the smiles said it all.”
With the win, Waimea will host Kapaa on Friday while Island School visits the Kauai High School gym.
The JV games start at 5 p.m. with the varsity games starting no earlier than 6:30 p.m.