Warriors force 2nd round playoff game

KAPAA — Kapaa High School’s varsity girls volleyball team defeated Waimea on the school’s Senior Night, 3-1, Friday evening.

With the Warriors’ win, both Kapaa (10-2 KIF, 5-1 second round) and Waimea (9-3 KIF, 5-1 second round) finished the season’s second round tied. Both teams will play a playoff game at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Kapaa High School.

“It was such a good game. This was what we wanted. We just wanted to put up a fight,” Warriors senior backside hitter Tori Daligcon-Pomaikai said about the win. “Of course, we didn’t want to lose. We didn’t want to give it to them. I’m just so excited. It just feels good.”

In the fourth set, the Menehune got a slim lead and maintained it for most of the game.

The Warriors took back the advantage late in the set as Daligcon-Pomaikai scored on a block to give the team a 19-18 lead. Kapaa kept that lead through the end to finish the set, 25-22, and seal the win at home.

Kapaa won the first two sets, 25-20 and 25-12.

“To be honest, I was wondering who was going to show up. I knew Waimea wasn’t going to lay down. They were scrappy,” said Warriors head coach Evan Costa. “We tried to hit the ball down, and the ball came right back many times. Our girls hung in there and stuck to their goals. Just kept it simple. Just proud of them tonight in their last home game, and just thankful.”

Waimea won the third set to avoid getting swept, 25-21. Two seniors, middle blocker Brandee Burton and outside hitter Ariell Aquino-Lazaro, each scored three points in the set.

Errors derailed the Menehune’s efforts, especially in the second set, to grab a win to secure the second round. Waimea head coach Chad Delanoza said Aquino-Lazaro, who is usually a consistent high scorer, had an off night and the rest of the team wasn’t able to compensate.

“She (Aquino-Lazaro) kind of struggled tonight. Things wasn’t falling. Saw some frustration. Tried to do a little too much. It’s a tough road — the amount of swings she has and kills at the end of the night, it’s tough to maintain that throughout,” Delanoza said. “The real truth is that we just need more people to step up and, balance it out and not try to make it the main focus where she’s getting all the swings. When it’s tough like it was tonight, it’s tough to get on track. But she’s always going to give us her best effort.”

Delanoza added the team may have been feeling lingering effects from an emotionally charged Tuesday night when Waimea had its Senior Night, in which the Menehune defeated Kauai High in straight sets.

“A lot of the kids are actively involved in activities at school and they want to represent their class. This is the last year ofhigh school for them, the seniors. So they want to do all this stuff with their class, and you cannot take that away from them,” he said. “We’ll get some rest tonight. Tomorrow, I hope we’ll get a better adjustment of what goes on, and prepare ourselves for this match on Tuesday.”

Following the win, Kapaa honored its seven seniors: Daligcon-Pomaikai, defensive specialist Brylyn Aiwohi, setter Deidre Andaya, outside hitter Analeigha Carvalho-Toloai, outside hitter Haaheo Mahinai, middle blocker Siokapesi Paua, and setter Kunani Tuttle.

“That means so much. This is a night we’ve all been waiting for since our freshman year. It just means a lot that we all were able to push through and actually get the win,” said Daligcon-Pomaikai, who has played varsity for three years for Kapaa.

Warriors junior middle blocker Paea Tafea lead Kapaa in scoring with 11 kills and four blocks. Daligcon-Pomaikai had 10 kills and a block. Paua had seven kills and a block. Tuttle had 33 assists, three kills and a block.

Burton totaled eight kills, two blocks and an ace for Waimea. Aquino-Lazaro had seven kills. Junior middle blocker Shania Kahepuu had eight kills. Senior setter Alyssa Pigao had 29 assists, two kills and a block.

If Kapaa wins on Tuesday, the Warriors would win the second round and will claim the Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship. It Waimea wins, the Menehune would win the second round and will play Kapaa, the first round winner, in a championship game at a date and location to be determined.

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