Red Raiders close season with win

PUHI — The Red Raiders closed their season with one last win on the road.

Kauai High School’s varsity boys volleyball team defeated Island School, 3-1, Saturday afternoon at the Voyagers home gym.

“I wanted to play all the seniors — give them one last time,” said Red Raiders head coach Enoch Aana. “The season’s over, but it actually has just begun as well. Now, we start preparing for next season.”

Kauai High started the fourth set with a 7-1 run. During that run, Red Raiders senior outside hitter Damien Butac got three aces.

Island School would work out of the early deficit to even the score at 20 apiece. An ace by Voyagers junior outside hitter Keoni Downer leveled the score.

“I think Kauai High gave us a bunch of chances,” said Voyagers head coach Kaipo Kealalio. “Just lucky for us we took advantage of that. You know, they played great. I think we played better in the fourth set when we came back and made it a game. That stuff, we have to learn.

“Other than that, Kauai High played great. We had our opportunities, but we just didn’t take them. They’re doing a good job over there,” he continued.

The Red Raiders would get back ahead and win the fourth set, 25-21. The match was capped off with a kill by Kauai freshman middle blocker Joshua Rivera.

“I was really happy with that. I just told them that they had to push hard, and keep pushing,” Aana said.

Kauai High won the first two sets — 25-16 and 25-17 — and were in position to win in straight sets.

Instead, Island School won the third set, 25-19, to extend the match. Voyagers junior opposite Makoa Pratt got the set-winning kill.

“I feel like we got lucky, kind of, but we also had really good passing and consistent serving,” Pratt said of winning the third set. “I felt like we just worked well. We built up good chemistry towards the end of the season.”

Kauai High welcomed back senior outside hitter Quinten Mundon, who played his first game of the season. Mundon was sidelined with a hand injury.

Mundon had two kills, two digs and a block in his season debut.

“It felt great. When I wasn’t able to play, I was just down. But they told me that I could play this last game. So, right on,” Mundon said. “Didn’t really play (up to) my caliber, but still played.”

He added about the win: “It was a good win. We took them in four sets, but we could have done it in three. The thing is that we had to execute. We’re still young. We just got to play better.”

Aana said seeing Mundon back on the court “meant everything.” He added Mundon and senior middle blocker Kekoa Tecson, who was also sidelined all season because of injury, both served as motivation for the team.

“He really wanted to play. He was a big focus of our team, he and Kekoa,” Aana said. “It was a great loss for us, but we had to persevere and pull through. I give props to everybody that came and stepped up.”

Butac totaled eight kills, four aces and a block for the Red Raiders. Rivera had four kills and an ace. Junior setter Tyron Libarios-Moses had 15 assists, four kills and two blocks. Junior outside hitter Kaimi Texiera had four blocks and a kill.

Kauai High ended its season with a 4-8 Kauai Interscholastic Federation regular season record, going 2-4 in the second round.

“I’m really looking forward to next year, but we just needed to get through this year first. I’m really happy with the season and the way it transpired,” Aana said. “I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

Pratt had eight kills for the Voyagers. Downer had six kills, an ace and three digs. Junior setter Andres Elzaudria had 13 assists, three aces and two kills. Senior middle blocker Scott Kilcoyne had five kills and four assists.

Island School finished its KIF season 0-12.

“It was good. I think they were starting to understand the hard work pays off. I know, now, they’re more anxious to get in the gym and work hard,” Kealalio said. “Too bad the season’s done because now they’re starting to realize that. But it was a good season, and we enjoyed it.”

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