LIHUE — The Red Raider girls came back to win at home to start the season’s second round.
Kauai High School’s varsity girls volleyball team defeated Kapaa in five sets Tuesday evening.
“I do expect to have great plays from Kapaa and great plays from our side. So, the rallies go longer,” said Kauai High head coach Dorene Matias. “It was a good game. It was a really good game.”
After falling behind 2-1, Kauai (5-2 KIF, 1-0 2nd round) rallied to win the fourth set, 25-22.
Then after starting the fifth set behind, the Red Raiders worked through the early deficit to take a 4-3 lead off a kill by junior middle Rachel Curnan.
Kauai would go on to clinch the final set, 15-11, capped off with a game-winning kill by senior outside hitter Baylie Caberto.
Caberto ended the match with eight kills. Curnan had seven kills, including the set-winner in the first set, an assist and a dig.
“It felt amazing,” Caberto said of the kill. “All the adrenaline went to my head. I wanted to cry. It was so exciting. That’s how good it was.”
Kauai won the opening set, 25-23.
“For our team, it’s important to start that way,” Matias said of starting the round with a home win. “We just have to work because people only get better — teams get better. So, it’s important for us to work towards reaching our team goal, our personal goals, in order to be successful.”
Kapaa (5-2 KIF, 0-1 2nd round) won the second and third sets, 25-15 and 25-21.
“Kauai High came out hot,” said Kapaa head coach Evan Costa. “We didn’t take care of them in the fourth set. We let them back in the game, and they took advantage. We got away from what we do, and that was it. Kauai High took advantage.”
Costa added though the loss is a disappointing way to begin the season’s second round, he’s hopeful the team can learn from it.
“It’s a good test for all the girls — getting in that situation and feeling the heat. So, how do you respond to the heat?,” he said. “You come into the gym full of red, rocking. They were rocking the gym. This is their home, and they took care of their home. Hats off to Kauai High. But these are the situations, as a team, how do they respond? Again, coming into somebody’s house, they defended their house.”
Sophomore middle Rebecca Zenger was Kauai High’s leading scorer with 11 kills. Senior setter Sierra Fernandez had 23 assists, a kill and an ace. Sophomore setter Emily Morden had 16 assists, an ace and three digs. Junior libero Tia Takasaki had 14 digs.
Warriors junior outside hitter Keani Tolenoa was the game’s leading scorer with 15 kills, three aces and a block. Senior middle blocker Paea Tafea had 11 kills, three blocks and an ace. Sophomore middle blocker Kaehukaiihaamainae Keala had six kills, four blocks and two aces. Junior setter Rachel Pleas had a game-high 34 assists along with three aces and three digs.
Kauai also won the junior varsity match, winning all three sets against the JV Warriors — 25-23, 25-11 and 25-10.
Kapaa will host Waimea, and Kauai will host Island School on Friday. The JV games will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.