KAPAA — Kauai High School’s varsity boys volleyball team defeated Kapaa, 3-2, Tuesday evening at Kapaa High School.
“Tonight was a tough game. We really needed to win in order to stay in the first round race,” said Red Raiders co-head coach Dorene Matias. “The boys worked really hard. We still got to go back and work on a lot of different things.”
“Kapaa is a tough team. I knew they were going to be tough,” she added. “The boys needed to want the game. I couldn’t want it for them, even if I did. It was a good game.”
Kauai (2-1 KIF) worked through a 12-8 deficit in the final frame to win the fifth set, 15-12. Senior outside hitter Kalawaia Judd scored the go-ahead kill to give the Red Raiders a 13-12 lead. He then scored one more kill en route to sealing the road victory.
“We just had to focus on each other and what we could contribute to the team,” said Kauai senior middle Tyler Fernandez about working through the late deficit. “We had to get one point at a time and just make the fundamental plays.”
The Red Raider boys won the first two sets, 28-26 and 25-22, and were in position to win in straight sets.
Kapaa (1-2 KIF) then won the following two sets, 25-17 and 26-24.
Warriors junior opposite hitter Max Nice got a block and a kill to score Kapaa’s last two points in the fourth set to force a fifth game.
“It’s pretty weird. It was the same situation, like in the Waimea game, where we were down in the first two sets, then fought back in the (next) two sets and the fifth set was a battle,” said Kapaa head coach Kapule Kaona. “It was exactly reliving what happened back then.”
Despite the 12-8 lead in the last game, a series of attacking errors down the stretch allowed Kauai to close the gap and eventually take the lead.
“The first thing we realized, us as coaches and even the boys, is we need to get a better start,” Kaona said. “We need to start the game better. We need to not play from behind. Instead, play ahead. That’s what we were talking about in the locker room.”
“It’s an uphill climb from here. We know what position we’re at,” he added about possibly getting back in contention for the first round. “Even though it’s a loss, I think it builds a lot of character. I want to see how they come off of this experience.”
Fernandez totaled 12 kills, three aces and a block for Kauai. Judd had 12 kills and an ace. Junior middle Kekoa Tecson had eight kills and two blocks.
Nice had six kills, including the game-winner in the fourth set, and three blocks. Sophomore middle hitter Carson Schmick had 10 kills, two blocks and an ace. Senior outside hitter Rudy Agoot had seven kills and three aces.
“We just got to learn to finish,” Fernandez said about looking forward to the rest of the first round. “We cannot make a lot of errors because that’s what lets the other teams back in, and it’s what gets them pumped.”
Kapaa won the junior varsity match in three sets, 25-17, 25-16 and 25-16.
Over on the Westside, Waimea’s varsity boys won its match against Island School in straight sets, 25-23, 25-19, 25-9. The JV Voyagers beat the Menehune, 3-0.
Kauai will play at Island School (0-3 KIF) and Kapaa will host Waimea (3-0 KIF) on Friday. JV matches will begin at 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.