KAPAA — Mental ability played a key role Monday as Kapaa and Waimea High Schools’ boys volleyball teams resumed a game that was suspended on March 22.
At stake was the title for the Kauai Interscholastic Federation Round 1, but you could not tell that from the sparse crowd that peppered the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa.
When the game was suspended, Kapaa held a 19-17 lead over Waimea in the third set, and six more points would lock up the Round 1 title for the Warriors. Earlier that night, Kapaa had posted wins of 25-16 and 25-18 over the Menehune.
But that was not to be as both teams adjusted to the mid-game resumption, and Kapaa’s Carson Schmick’s kill down the side gave the Warriors the lead, 20-18.
A Kapaa net violation and a misplayed ball deadlocked the match, 20-20. A Kapaa hitting error put Waimea up 21-20 before a Waimea service error knotted the match 21-21.
Saxsen Shiira went up the middle for the go-ahead only to have the Warriors commit a service error to deadlock the match, 22-22. Another Kapaa service error forced the fourth set while Waimea celebrated its 25-23 win.
“We didn’t come ready to play,” said Kapaa coach Kapule Kaona. “The boys were laxidasical and not hungry. Waimea wanted it more. They played hungry and played well. Kudos to them.”
Kaona said the Warriors went into its slow start mode.
“Of the six points, we gave them four points on service errors and a mental mistake,” Kaona said. “We need mental conditioning. We know the boys are ready physically. Tonight, they were not mental tough.”
Jumping into the fourth set, Shiira gave the Warriors two quick points before Waimea knotted the match on a Noah Alejandro hit, 4-4.
Kurt Napoleon built the Warriors to its biggest lead, 11-8 on a hit from the opposite side until Waimea turned the tide with four unanswered points, 15-13 behind smacks from Alejandro, Carl Mecham, and more Kapaa miscues.
Kapaa tied the match at 15-15 on a Schmick block.
The Warriors clawed back on hits by Schmick and Dave Joel, but Waimea kept control, 23-19 on Kapaa hitting errors.
Following a pair of Menehune net violations, Kapaa roared to the win after clawing back from a 23-20 deficit, nailing five answered points and sealing the Round 1 title behind a Shiira hit up the middle followed by a block in the middle.
“We made some setting adjustments on that last time out,” Kaona said. “We changed up and had the sets more to the middle.”
Waimea coach Alton Shimatsu said the Menehune also suffered from mental breakdown.
“The boys work hard,” Shimatsu said. “We have no choice but to move ahead. We’re ready for Round 2. We know we have work to do, but the boys are happy for the second round because this game was just the first round.”