KAPAA — The Warrior girls rebounded from Tuesday’s loss and won at home for their first win of the second round.
Kapaa High School’s varsity girls volleyball team defeated Waimea, 3-1, Friday evening.
“It was (about) going back to basics,” said Kapaa head coach Evan Costa. “We had to work on passing and staying to basics. We had to execute the basics. That’s what these last two days have been — just basics, basics, basics.”
Kapaa (6-2 KIF, 1-1 2nd round) won the opening two sets, 25-23 and 25-19.
In the second set, Warriors senior middle blocker Paea Tafea led Kapaa’s offense with eight points — four kills, three blocks and an ace.
Waimea (4-4 KIF, 1-1 2nd round) then won the third set to prevent Kapaa from winning in straight sets, 25-22. Menehune sophomore setter Leiko Yamauchi scored the set-winning kill.
“We played a totally different game. Even though we lost the first two games, it was like a boxing match,” said Waimea head coach Chad Delanoza. “Shot for shot, they came at us, and we came back at them. We had leads. They had leads. We were trying to sustain that and hopefully pull away. But in the end, they gave it a great effort and I’m not disappointed at all with what they’ve done. I’m proud of what they’ve done.”
The Menehune girls winning the third set to extend the match brought the possibility of yet another comeback against the Warriors.
In a Kauai Interscholastic Federation match between the two teams on Sept. 13, Waimea rallied from a two-set deficit to beat Kapaa at the Warriors’ home gym, 3-2.
“That’s always in the back of my mind, but my concern was how we’d respond after being down 2-0,” Delanoza said of possibly coming from behind again. “It gives your team some character, and the kids got character. They get to chose how they want the ending to be. They can go down fighting and lose, or they can just give up and end it that way. They’ve been learning to come together in tough times and weather the storm. You got to work through it.”
Costa said of stopping Waimea this time around: “I was wondering if we would actually pull it off. I didn’t say anything to the girls. I just wanted to see if they would respond. Once of the coaches touched on it. She said she’s never seen this team actually just continue to hang and just keep pushing. … That was the difference.”
Warriors junior setter Rachel Pleas, too, said Waimea’s comeback came to mind.
“Everyone kind of had it in the back of our heads, but no one really said it,” Pleas said. “We definitely said that we gave that one to them, but we just didn’t really think about it. … In the fourth set, we just said that we got to finish this right now. Our team came together and played as sisters.”
This time however, the Warriors would put a stop at a potential comeback and won the fourth set, 25-19. A kill by Warriors sophomore middle blocker Kaehukaihaamainae Keala and a Menehune error awarded the match to the Warriors.
“It was definitely the mental game, and the presence that we had,” Pleas said of getting the win. “Every point, we were excited. We came back and bounced back right away. That’s what our team does really well sometimes.”
Delanoza said despite the loss, the effort proved to him that his team still has a shot for the second round.
“It’s never easy to play on the road,” the Menehune coach said. “They gave it their best shot. I just told them in the locker room that if we’re going to play like this the rest of the season, our chances our great if it’s all we do from here on out. We’ll use this as a good lesson for our next upcoming matches.”
Tafea recorded 11 kills, six blocks and an ace for Kapaa. Keala had 12 kills including the set-winner in the second set. Pleas totaled 31 assists, a kill and a block. Junior defensive specialist Kailee Bush had eight digs and two aces.
Yamauchi totaled 10 assists, five kills and a block for the Menehune. Senior middle blocker Shania Kahepuu led Waimea’s offense with 10 kills, two blocks and an ace. Sophomore setter Gabrielle Peleras had 11 assists, eight kills, a block and an ace. Sophomore libero Leeanna Tamashiro had 12 digs and an ace.
Kapaa also won the junior varsity contest, 2-1. The JV Warriors won the second and third sets, 25-23 and 25-23. The JV Menehune won the opening set, 25-23.
In the night’s other KIF girls volleyball match, Kauai High defeated Island School, 3-1. The Voyagers won the opening set, 29-27. The Red Raiders won the rest of the way, 25-19, 25-12 and 25-20.
Kauai also won the JV match, winning all three sets, 25-19, 25-11 and 25-16.
Kapaa will play at Island School (0-8 KIF, 0-2 2nd round) and Waimea will host Kauai High (6-2 KIF, 2-0 2nd round) on Tuesday. The JV matches will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.