WAIMEA — The Red Raiders almost let one slip through their fingers, but managed to pull it off at the end to extend their win streak to four.
Kauai High School’s varsity boys volleyball team defeated the Menehune, 3-2, Friday night at Waimea High School.
“We were doing all the stuff we did in practice. Everything was clicking. But in the third and fourth sets, we started clowning around, honestly,” said Kauai senior middle Tyler Fernandez. “We lost focus and let them back in the game.”
Waimea recovered from a 2-set deficit to force at fifth game. The Menehune boys started that fifth set with an early 5-1 lead.
Kauai (8-2 KIF, 2-0 second round, 2-0 playoff) then rallied to tie the game at 9-9. Menehune attacking errors gave the Red Raiders the late lead.
Moments later, Red Raiders senior outside hitter Kalawaia Judd got the game-winning kill to win the fifth, 15-10.
“It looked pretty bleak. That was kind of scary,” said Kauai co-head coach Dorene Matias. “You have to push until it’s done — executing and finishing the game completely before you celebrate.”
“I know the kids. They’re very talented and they understand the game. I just need to tell them that they have to be serious from here on,” she added.
Kauai won the first two sets, 25-18 and 26-24.
“We thought we were going to go home. We thought we were going to sweep them,” Fernandez said. “Waimea’s a tough team. I got to give them that. They kept fighting.”
Waimea (4-5 KIF, 0-2 second round, 0-1 playoff) won the third and fourth sets, 25-19 and 28-26.
“It was a good game. I couldn’t be more prouder of my boys with the way they fought through the game,” said Waimea head coach Alton Shimatsu. “We found what we were lacking in the last few games — the drive. Diving for balls and giving all of that effort, it was pure heart. There weren’t any changes that I could make. The boys did a hell of a job.”
Judd recorded 16 kills, three aces and two blocks for the Red Raiders. Fernandez got seven kills, three aces and two blocks. Junior middle Kekoa Tecson had 10 kills and two blocks.
Menehune senior outside hitter Bobby Oliver lead Waimea’s offense with 25 kills, an ace and a block. Junior middle blocker Jayden Fu got eight kills and seven blocks. Senior outside hitter Ryan Lomongo got six kills.
Kauai won the junior varsity match, 2-1, winning the first and third sets, 25-23 and 25- 13. Waimea won the second, 25-21.
In the night’s other match, Kapaa beat Island School in straight sets, 25-6, 25-11 and 25-9.
Kauai will host Kapaa (6-3 KIF, 2-0 second round, 0-1 playoff) and Waimea will play at Island School (0-8 KIF, 0-2 second round) on Tuesday. The JV games will begin at 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.