PUHI — Waimea High School’s varsity girls volleyball team bested Island School in straight sets in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season opener Wednesday evening.
Waimea (1-0 KIF) won 25-13, 25-13 and 25-11. Senior outside hitter Ariell Aquino-Lazaro scored two aces and junior middle blocker Shania Kahepuu got a block for the Menehune’s final three points to seal the win at Island School.
“It’s always tough to go on the road to play your first match,” said Menehune head coach Chad Delanoza. “We knew Island School is drastically improving with years through this volleyball program, but nothing short of a great effort on our side. That’s all we were asking the kids, which was to give a great effort.”
Menehune senior setter Alyssa Pigao recorded 22 assists, most of which went to Kahepuu. She also had an ace, a block and a kill.
“She’s worked hard for those assists in every practice in the preseason,” Delanoza said. “We didn’t have a great preseason. In the end, it was for us to play as a team.”
Kahepuu was Waimea’s leading scorer with 11 kills and two blocks. Aquino-Lazaro had eight kills and two aces.
Island School (0-1 KIF) had a 5-point scoring streak toward the end of the second set. Voyagers senior middle Brianna Griep had two blocks and sophomore outside hitter Emily Sullivan had an ace in that streak.
Sullivan was the Voyagers’ leading scorer with three kills and two aces, and also had two assists. Griep recorded five blocks and two assists and freshman setter Gabby Peleras had four assists, a kill and a block for Island School.
“It’s about consistency,” said Island School head coach Brad Sato. “I think for them, they saw that it is possible. For us, we just need to work on doing it all of the time and not just once in a while.”
The Menehune also won the junior varsity game, 25-17, 25-20 and 25-7.
Waimea will host Kauai (0-1 KIF) and Island School will play at Kapaa (1-0 KIF) on Saturday. The JV games will begin at 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
“We got to pass up better free balls. It gives us a little more options,” Delanoza said about what his team can improve on for Saturday. “Our middles are working hard, like they normally do. But a lot of it has got to be pinpoint passing so they can get to all those shots they’ve been hitting.”
For the Voyagers, Sato said the season opener was the first live game action this year. He hopes his young players will continue to improve.
“Every year, we keep getting more and more girls coming out. So, that’s good. Our goal is to keep building the program and stay competitive with the other schools,” he said. “We can compete. We just got to stay consistent throughout the whole match. We can’t put ourselves down in a hole and try to dig ourselves out. I think point-for-point, we’re competitive.”