WAIMEA — With the season winding down, the Menehune girls got a big win at home to stay in the top spot of the season’s second round standings.
Waimea High School defeated Kauai High in straight sets Tuesday evening on the team’s Senior Night, 25-19, 25-19 and 27-25.
It’s also the school’s homecoming week. Menehune head coach Chad Delanoza said emotions have been running high and is happy his team got the win.
“There’s a lot of things going on in homecoming. There’s a lot of spirit, a lot of energies,” Delanoza said. “We needed to all remember that we have a season to complete. That’s what we wanted to do the past couple of days. No matter where we ended up, we wanted to finish our season strong.”
Kauai had a 16-12 lead midway through the third set, but Waimea (9-2 KIF, 5-0 second round) worked out of the deficit to tie it 22-22. Menehune senior middle blocker Brandee Burton got the go-ahead kill.
A series of errors by both teams eventually led to the 27-25 final score to seal the win for Waimea.
“There was a lot of adrenaline rushing through all of us, especially, for sure, the seniors,” Burton said. “The third set, it was a bit jittery. We could feel it within each other that it was kind of getting down. In our huddle, we just spoke to each other, motivate each other and say what we had to do.”
Kauai High head coach Dorene Matias said losing leads down the stretch of sets has been a trend all season.
“Our girls need to find the mental part of the game. We’re already at the end of the season. Losing always has lessons in it. It gives you time to think, gives you time to look back and see where it happened,” Matias said. “I think it’s all mental. It’s not the physical part. It’s more of the mental part of the game. They just couldn’t push over that hump, and it’s like that for almost every game.”
The Red Raiders coach added with one game left in the season, she hopes her team, especially the seniors, will end the season positively.
“We’re going to finish it. We’re still practicing. There’s still more for me to teach them,” she said. “There’s some girls that’s going to move on after this and go to college. I got to make sure they’re ready for that.”
Following the win, Waimea honored the team’s seven seniors who played their last regular season home game: Burton, outside hitter Ariell Aquino-Lazaro, libero Abie Coma, libero Kanoe Ana, setter Alyssa Pigao, opposite hitter Kacielin Hesapene and opposite hitter Charissa Waalani.
“To me, it meant a lot. It taught a lot, especially self discipline, motivation and all of that,” Burton said, who has played three years varsity for Waimea. “Having that bond with your team and clicking with each other is one thing, for sure, that I’m going to miss.”
“You see them grow up and see them become young adults, young women,” Delanoza said about his seniors. “From here on out, we hope we made an impact in their lives with making the right choices, doing the right thing and being responsible.”
Burton recorded seven kills, including the game-winner in the second set, and two aces for Waimea. Aquino-Lazaro had 12 kills, two aces and an assist. Waalani had five kills, a block and two assists. Pigao had 28 assists and two kills.
Red Raiders senior outside hitter Adrienne Graycochea led Kauai High in scoring with nine kills. Senior setter Leisa Eto had four kills, a block and five assits. Junior setter Sierra Fernandez had 13 assists and an ace. Senior defensive specialist Janine Iseri had three aces.
In the night’s other Kauai Interscholastic Federation match, Kapaa (9-2 KIF, 4-1 second round) defeated Island School in straight sets, 25-14, 25-5 and 25-8, at Kapaa High School. The Warriors junior varsity team also won in straight sets, 25-12, 25-18 and 25-20.
Friday’s games will be the last of the KIF regular season. Waimea will play at Kapaa and Kauai High (4-7 KIF, 1-4 second round) will play at Island School (0-11 KIF, 0-5 second round). The JV games will begin at 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
If Kapaa wins on Friday, Kapaa and Waimea would finish the second round tied and would play a playoff game to determine the winner. If Waimea wins, Waimea would win the second round and would play Kapaa, the season’s first round winner, in a KIF championship game. Date and location are to be determined.
“We’ve been in this position in round one, and we didn’t know how to handle it. I think going into round two, we handled it a little better,” Delanoza said about the upcoming match. “We’re excited to play on Friday. Not taking (anything) away from anybody, but I think these guys have labored through a lot of things and they stayed committed. I know it’s going to be a great match.”