Red Raider girls win in straight sets

PUHI — The Red Raider girls notched their first win of the season on the road.

Kauai High School’s varsity girls volleyball team defeated Island School in straight sets at the Voyagers’ home gym Saturday.

“I think both teams played really well,” said Kauai head coach Dorene Matias. “Island School, I think they have great players.”

“Our team is learning how to play together,” she added. “That’s what is necessary to become successful at this game, at the varsity level. We were lucky tonight. We were.”

Kauai High (1-1 KIF) won the first two sets by a comfortable margin — 25-16 and 25-15.

“We’re a young team, but we told each other that we had to talk to each other and make sure we’re all working together,” said Red Raiders junior libero Tia Takasaki. “So, we kind of just told each other that. The goal for the team was to win tonight.”

Island School (0-2 KIF) then put forth its best effort in the third set, attempting to extend the match.

The Voyager girls maintained a slim lead for the first half of that third set, up until Kauai took a 15-14 lead.

“The girls wanted to prove that the first two sets weren’t the way they normally play,” said Island School head coach Brad Sato. “They came out in the third set. We still have some things to fix. But for the most part, they put all their effort they had into that third set.”

The lead teetered back-and-forth. Island School took an 18-17 lead with a kill by senior outside hitter Anne Cushnie.

Kauai took back a 19-18 lead off a Voyagers error and kept that lead through the finish to win set and complete the sweep, 25-21.

“It does take a lot of nudging from the side in order for them to pick up their momentum once again,” Matias said. “They did lose it on that third set for a little bit. I just made them realize that, you know, it’s really close — you got to get your serves in and make them count, and keep your hits in. They did their job, and I’m really proud.”

Sato said despite the loss, there were positives he took following the match because his team finished with a closely-contested set.

“We got a lot of work to do. We got to work on serving, work on some passing. But (at the end), we were there,” he said.

Takasaki had five kills, including the set-winner in the second game, seven digs and an ace for Kauai. Sophomore setter Emily Morden had 12 assists and two aces. Sophomore middle Rebecca Zenger had four kills, a block and a dig.

Cushnie totaled five kills, 10 digs and an ace for Island School. Junior setter Julia Massaro had four kills, four assists and an ace. Junior setter Emma Kelekoma had two kills, two assists, an ace and three digs.

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