Menehune win KIF season opener

WAIMEA — The Menehune boys did it the hard way, but they walked out with a win at home to start the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season.

Waimea High School’s varsity boys volleyball team edged out Kapaa on Tuesday night, 3-2.

“Considering we have a young team with four freshmen and two sophomores, it’s a really good win for us,” said Waimea head coach Alton Shimatsu. “It shows us what we have to work on throughout the season knowing there’s good competition in the KIF. We have to work really hard to compete and continue with our progress.”

Tied at 13-13 in the final frame, Waimea sophomore outside hitter Noah Alejandro got the game-winning kill, following a Kapaa service error, to seal the home win for the Menehune.

“At that point, there was nothing much I could do as a coach except back them up, just keep encouraging them and have them get in that mindset that they have to fight for what they need,” Shimatsu said. “They did that. It shows that they can come through, when they need to, with the fight.”

Waimea (1-0 KIF) won the first two sets, 25-19, 27-25. Senior outside hitter Bobby Oliver slammed the final kill of the second set to cap off a Menehune rally, in which the team recovered from a late 7-point deficit.

“It was the serving. Serving and passing is our biggest weakness, but we’re working on it,” Oliver said about the second set. “We were just telling each other to have each other’s backs and just play for each other. Do it for the team, the coaches and supporters.”

“It was good. It’s like (taking) the first step into our big plan,” he added about the win. “We’re just going to keep pushing and pushing. Come back tomorrow and work hard.”

Kapaa (0-1 KIF) won the third and fourth sets, 25-21, 29-27. Senior outside hitter Rudy Agoot recorded the final two kills of the extended fourth set for the Warriors.

Kapaa head coach Kapule Kaona said though losing isn’t ideal, the silver lining is the loss came early in the season and showed him what his team needs to improve on moving forward — defensive positioning specifically.

“There were a lot of things they kept repeating that we shouldn’t be repeating. It’s just very basic, fundamental volleyball as far as defensive positioning — where they should be. We fell away from that tonight. I think that’s what ate us up,” he said. “I know our talent and skill level is fine. I’m not concerned or worried about that. I’m just worried about fixing those things. The defensive positioning, that’s the thing we’re going to go back into practice and start fixing up before the next game.”

Oliver had 19 kills, 4 blocks and 3 aces for Waimea. Junior middle blocker Jayden Fu had 9 kills, 7 blocks and 1 ace. Sophomore setter Carl Mecham had 7 kills, 4 blocks and 2 aces.

Agoot recorded 14 kills and 2 aces for Kapaa. Junior opposite hitter Max Nice recorded 12 kills, 2 blocks and an ace. Senior outside hitter Matt Cummings had 7 kills and 3 blocks.

Kapaa’s junior varsity boys won their matchup against the JV Menehune, 25-10, 25-21 and 25-20.

Over at the Red Raiders’ home gym, Kauai High’s varsity team defeated Island School in straight sets, 25-14, 27-25, 25-15. Kauai’s JV team also won, 25-14, 14-25, 25-20.

Waimea will play at Kauai (1-0 KIF) and Kapaa will play at Island School (0-1 KIF) on Friday evening. The JV matches will begin at 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.

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