WAIMEA — Kauai High School’s varsity boys volleyball team defeated Waimea, 3-1, Tuesday night.
The win puts Kauai (4-1 KIF) in the lead of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season’s first round with one match remaining. The Red Raiders accumulated 18 blocks en route to the victory.
“I told the boys that it was really up to them. They had to dig deep, to really want it and to not let them take anything out of their hands,” said Kauai co-head coach Dorene Matias. “There’s a lot we have to work on with the boys. Nothing’s ever perfect. There’s no game that is perfect.”
The Red Raiders won the first two sets, 26-24 and 25-17. Kauai then won the fourth game, 27-25.
Scoring was back and forth down the stretch of that final game. Waimea junior middle blocker Jayden Fu smacked a kill to tie the score, 25-25. Kauai senior middle Tyler Fernandez responded with the go-ahead score.
An attacking error by Waimea gave Kauai the last point end the match.
“It was a tight game. We had to come in hard, or else we would have lost,” said Red Raiders junior middle Kekoa Tecson. “The team pulled through. Waimea is a tough opponent, but we just did better.”
Waimea (3-2 KIF) won the third game, 25-20.
“We just played with emotion. Everybody was talking and played our defense,” Fu said about trying to force the game to five sets after losing the first two. “We were just trying to pick them up — just forget about it. It was in the past. Just play our game.”
“It was a good game, but we got to come back and work. It’s a tough loss,” he added. “We got to make a statement on Friday. It’s what we’re fighting for.”
Tecson had seven blocks, including the first set winner, and four kills. Fernandez had 10 kills, five blocks and two aces. Fellow senior middle Lii Colipano had seven kills, two aces and two blocks for the Red Raiders.
Fu had 12 kills, four aces and three blocks. Senior outside hitter Bobby Oliver had 19 kills, an ace and a block for the Menehune. Sophomore setter Carl Mecham had four kills and a block.
“Kauai High played a good game. Again, somebody’s got to win and somebody’s got to lose,” said Waimea head coach Alton Shimatsu. “Kauai High, their defense was there. They put up a lot of big blocks tonight.”
“We’ll just come back and keep working hard. Right now, it’s anybody’s season,” he added. “We just got to be ready to compete.”
In the night’s other contest, Kapaa defeated Island School at home in straight sets, 25-11, 25-14 and 25-4.
Kauai will host Kapaa (3-2 KIF) and Waimea will play at Island School (0-5 KIF) on Friday. The junior varsity matches will begin at 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
If Kauai wins, the Red Raiders will win the season’s first round. If Waimea wins and Kapaa defeats Kauai, the three schools will be in a three-way tie with playoff games to be determined.
“That’s going to be a tough game. Kapaa is a tough team,” Matias said about Friday’s match and possibly winning the first round. “We’re going to work hard the next couple of days to prepare against Kapaa.”