PUHI — The Voyagers came up short as the Kapaa Warriors swept both the junior varsity and varsity matches in straight sets Tuesday night at the Wilcox Gym on the Island School campus.
“The girls have come a long way,” said Brad Sato, Island School head coach. “With only six players, there is no one to rely on, we only have ourselves. From the bye week, we have been working to stay in the game. Kapaa is a tough team, and stayed with us. When they started a rally, the girls stayed with them. The coaches are proud of what they did on the court.”
But the effort fell short as the varsity Warrior wahine prevailed, 25-13, 25-11, 25-10, while the Warrior JV overwhelmed the Voyagers in three straight sets, 25-7, 25-6, 25-19.
“The Voyager girls played tough, tonight,” said Evan Costa, Kapaa coach. “They kept up with us through the sets. Notice how the ball didn’t touch the floor. They were good. We made mistakes, though, and we need to clean that up.”
With the win, Costa and his staff are looking ahead to its final home stand.
“It’s come down to Friday night,” Costa said. “The game at home is huge — for both the JV and the varsity teams. The JV girls need to win to clinch the Kauai Interscholastic Federation title. If Kauai wins, we end in a tie. It’s do-or-die on all fronts.”
Costa said the varsity girls need a win to stay alive and force a playoff for the second round. If Kapaa can get past that playoff, a playoff for the KIF title takes place because Kauai took Round 1 in a playoff.
“We had a goal of communicating,” Costa said. “I’m glad you weren’t in our first time out because that’s what I told the girls — communicate, talk yourselves through the game.”
Island School started strong, getting on the board ahead of Kapaa, and in the second and third sets even took the lead behind hits from Autumn Warnock and Kapaa errors.
“We can’t do this against Kauai,” Costa said. “They are a strong team and we just can’t make these mistakes.”
The Voyagers were limited to six players and worked through the three sets — Warnock, Ali Temme, Damia Cain, Anne Cushnie, Brianna Griep, and Katie Davidson.
Sato said he was proud of the fact the Voyagers reduced their errors through the night.
“Aggressive,” said Island School coach Tony Magaoay. “I was just thinking that. I was trying to tell the girls to hit the wall — pound that ball!”
Island School athletic director Kaipo Kealalio said to see the improvements made by the girls through the season is gratifying.
“It’s just disappointing that when they have come this far, the season ends,” he said. “But they will go on and build on what they’ve learned and accomplished.”
Kapaa answered, going to its strong front line of Tori Daligcon, Siokapesi “Pesi” Paua, and Paea Tafea while the back row was anchored by libero Michele “Kawa” Danner, Kunani Tuttle and Eryka Keoho, whose slams from the back row pulled led Kapaa in the first set.
Griep’s hit pulling the Voyagers to a 9-7 deficit in the second set before the Warriors pulled away behind a Kamalani Hopkins kill.
The Voyagers took command of the third set early on Kapaa errors before Keoho had two big hits to lead a rally that closed out the win.
Kapaa hosts Kauai High School Friday with the JV game serving up at 5 p.m. and the varsity match starting no earlier than 6:30 p.m.
Island School will close its season at Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea.
“We put ourselves in this situation,” Costa said. “We have two days to prepare for Kauai.”