WAIMEA — Menehune hammers broke through bouts of errors to lead the Waimea High School girls to a 3-1 win, 23-25, 25-18, 25-20, and 25-18, over Kauai High School Saturday night before a nice home stand crowd at the Clem Gomes Gym.
Earlier in the evening, the Kauai junior varsity prevailed 25-21, 27-25, and 25-18.
The win gives Waimea girls a 2-0 record on the young Kauai Interscholastic Federation season while the Red Raiders are looking for their first win after dropping its season opener to Kapaa in four sets.
Brandee Burton’s bang up the middle locked the opening set 17-17 only to have Kauai give up the advantage on a service error. A Kauai miscue in the service block deadlocked the match, 20-20 and 22-22 before Taegan Keep, the Red Raider middle, picked up two unanswered points and a Waimea hitting error brought the Raiders to game point.
A Kauai passing error prolonged the game as Waimea pulled to within a digit, 23-24 before Kauai’s Rebecca Zenger, a freshman, went up the middle to seal the deal, 25-23.
With 18 girls on its roster and three injured and unable to play, Kauai coach Dorene Matias said it’s like looking at a basket of flowers and trying to figure out which combination makes the best lei.
“We just need to find the right combination,” Matias said. “That, and we also need to get back to the basics. Our next few games are critical and we have a lot of cleaning up to do. When I watch them, I know we need to learn how to close. It’s frustrating because I know they can do it. How do we make them see that?”
Waimea cleaned up some of its hiccups from the first set to claim the next three sets.
Burton’s hammer in the middle and right side gave Waimea a 14-6 advantage before a misstep in the service block broke the string of eight unanswered points in the second set. Ariell Aquino-Lazaro took over the hammering and coupled with a bang from Charissa Waalani, the Menehune built a 21-9 lead before Keep stepped into the rotation, and coupled with errors, trimmed the margin to eight points before Waimea’s Maria Foisaga sealed the deal, 25-18, placing the ball just beyond the outstretched dive from Adrienne Graycochea.
Shania Kahepuu pleased the crowd in the third set, leading to a drawn-out volley before Waimea anchored the 16-12 advantage, and aces eluded both teams until the fourth set when Aquino-Lazaro spotted the first one for a 3-1 Waimea lead.
“This was a fun game to watch on both sides of the court,” said Waimea coach Chad Delanoza. “I liked how the girls stuck together and hung together. It was fun to watch them work through situations. In the past, if they lost, they would just sit and the hole would get bigger. Tonight, it’s like unchartered waters because they worked hard. We keep telling them they can’t get out of a hole if they don’t work.”
Waimea next faces Kapaa and its 2-0 record.
“We still have work to do,” Delanoza said. “There’s serving, passing, and ball control. Kapaa is a big team, and they’re well-coached.”
Waimea travels to the Bernice Hundley Gym at the Kapaa High School campus Wednesday.
The junior varsity game serves up at 5 p.m. with the varsity game starting no earlier than 6:30 p.m.