Warrior girls win in five sets

WAIMEA — The Kapaa High School girls volleyball team improved to 2-0 in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation following its 3-2 win over Waimea High School Saturday night at the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea.

The varsity win also completed a Warrior sweep after its junior varsity squad took a 2-1 series over the JV Menehune. Kapaa JV notched scores of 25-18, 25-22, and 23-25. Kapaa varsity marked scores of 12-25, 19-25, 25-17, 27-25, and 15-10.

“The turning point for us was when our captain, Kainani Moniz went down,” said Evan Costa, head coach for Kapaa High School. “I looked at her and I knew she was done for the night. We called a time out and told the girls to play for one girl on the bench — every ball, every play. That was our message on all the time outs.”

Kapaa was up 2-1 in the third set behind back-to-back blocks from Moniz. A Warrior service error and net violation pulled Waimea back 3-4 before Moniz was helped to the court boundary by Rachel Pleas, the Warriors’ setter.

“We called on the girls to respond,” Costa said. “Kainani is our second setter, but more than that, she is one of our veteran girls to hold everyone together on the floor. It was time for Rachel to put on the big girl pants.”

The Warrior girls responded, pulling ahead of Waimea, 9-6, behind a solid hit from Keani Tolenoa, and continued to hold off the Menehune behind the hitting from Kahelelani Maka-Adric, Kaehukaiihaamainae Keala (her dad said it’s alright to call her “Ehu” instead of the 18-letter name) up the middle, and an ace from Micaela Costa. A Waimea service closed the set, 25-17 for Kapaa.

“The girls responded when they needed to,” Costa said. “They were real good. Earlier, Waimea put us in trouble, and the girls felt the heat.”

Waimea opened the night with two victories, 25-12, 25-19, rolling behind the hitting of Gabrielle Peleras and Daysha Nelmida-Rice before a Kapaa passing error sealed the first set.

Kapaa answered in the second set, pulling ahead when Jazmin Kaleiohi forced a Menehune passing error off the opposite side, 7-6. Waimea came back, 18-17 behind a Maria Foisaga hit and surged forward 23-18 behind the tandem blocking from Shania Kaepu‘u and Nelmida-Rice, closing the set behind a Kapaa service error.

“We don’t have the height,” said Waimea coach Chad Delanoza. “We try to make up for that by being creative. It’s been a building process. Kapaa is a scrappy team. They have height, and we knew it would be challenging because they play hard to the very end.”

Following Moniz’s departure from the court, Kapaa went on to take the next three sets, battling a strong Waimea challenge to a 27-25 edge in the fourth set where Kapaa’s Pleas and Keala served up aces that was answered by Waimea’s Foisaga’s unreturnable service.

Waimea net violations put Kapaa ahead 5-3 and a save by Keale put Kapaa in control 12-8, Tolenoa putting the finishing touches with an ace for the 15-10 final.

“We have a challenge of finishing,” Delanoza said. “This is part of life. Our staff works hard to try and translate to the girls to be competitive. This is something every team goes through — it’s about creating character. This was a great night for volleyball, and I hope everyone enjoyed the game. We just competed as best as we could.”

Waimea High School next travels to the Kauai High School gym, Wednesday where the junior varsity game starts at 5 p.m. followed by the varsity match starting no earlier than 6:30 p.m.

Kapaa High School will host the Island School Voyagers at the Bernice Hundley Gym with the JV game serving up at 5 p.m. followed by the varsity match.

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