KAPAA — Kauai High School’s varsity boys volleyball team defeated Kapaa, 3-1, in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship game Tuesday evening at Kapaa High School.
“They had to play as a team. They played as a team tonight. They wanted it,” said Kauai co-head coach Lorna Basquez.
Tied at 10-10 in the final frame, Kauai then went on a 12-2 run en route to winning the fourth set and clinching the title, 25-15.
Senior middle Tyler Fernandez scored the game-winning kill for the Red Raiders and was dogpiled by teammates moments after in celebration.
“It’s pretty exciting. For the underclassmen and seniors who never got to experience it, it’s a ‘once in a lifetime’ kind of thing,” Fernandez said. “Everyone contributed. Everyone diving on the floor and all those little plays made up for it.”
The Red Raiders senior added that winning the title gave him the feeling of redemption after Kauai lost to Kapaa in a playoff game last season for the championship.
“The loss from last year was just bugging me the whole time. I was just replaying the game-point from last year. I just wanted to get back at states and get the W,” he said. “It was pretty sweet winning it in Kapaa and to see how happy everyone was running on the court.”
On the way to winning the match, Kauai (11-4 KIF, 4-2 second round, 3-0 playoff) won the first and third sets, 25-14 and 25-22.
“It’s indescribable. It’s something that the boys could have done a while ago, but they had to find it in themselves,” said Kauai co-head coach Dorene Matias, who also won a KIF title with the school’s varsity girls volleyball team in October.
“They had to find it in themselves. They had to find it in their hearts to play,” she said.
Kapaa (10-4 KIF, 6-0 second round, 0-2 playoff) won the second set, 25-14.
Warriors head coach Kapule Kaona said he felt assured going into Tuesday’s game considering the team went through the season’s second round unbeaten and ended the regular season with a win over Kauai at home just a few day prior.
“I was positive. We were peaking at the right time. I was confident in my team,” he said. “There was nothing I would have changed, nothing I would have done differently. It’s what took us through the second round and what has gotten us to that point. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out for us, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”
Kapaa junior opposite hitter Max Nice said losing the title game this year is disappointing, but hopes to have another chance at it next year.
“It sucks. It’s a bummer. We just didn’t show up like how we did on Saturday,” he said. “They showed up. They played really well. We just couldn’t fight back.”
Fernandez totaled 12 kills, two aces and a block for the Red Raiders. Senior outside hitter Kalawaia Judd had nine kills, two aces and a block, and senior middle Kekoa Kalani-Tecson had nine kills and two blocks.
Nice had seven kills and four blocks for the Warriors. Sophomore outside hitter Wyatt Harrison had nine kills and an ace, and junior middle hitter Mosese Fifita had six kills.
Kauai will participate in the New City Nissan Boys Volleyball Championships — Division II tournament, which begins Thursday, May 14 on Oahu.
“Me, Kalawaia and (senior setter Marcus Carvalho) went our sophomore year — two years ago,” Fernandez said about states. “We just got to play like today. In practice, we got to play harder and minimize those errors.”