LIHUE — Four matches into the regular season, the Warriors have been unbeaten.
Kapaa High School’s varsity boys volleyball team kept its win streak intact with its 3-0 win at Kauai High on Friday.
Kapaa (4-0 KIF) won in straight sets — 25-23, 25-19 and 29-27.
“It was getting a little close there toward the end,” said Kapaa head coach Kapule Kaona. “In the timeout before we got into those points, the talk was, ‘Finish strong and let’s finish up here.’ But it went the total opposite.”
The Warriors had a 20-15 lead in the third set and was in good position for the three-set sweep.
Attacking errors by Kapaa, though, allowed Kauai High (2-2 KIF) back in the game.
“They started to get a run. They started to get momentum,” Kaona said. “We made some key errors, which forced us to go down that road. We just mentally took a vacation, took a break, which caused that. Luckily, we were able to squeeze it out.
“The positive I’ll take from that is being challenged in a pressure situation — going point-for-point,” he continued. “I’ll take that as a positive experience.”
The Red Raiders took a 21-20 lead in the set with a chance of extending the match.
“Simple errors led on like a snowball effect,” said Warriors senior outside hitter Carson Schmick, who himself accounted for a handful of those faults. “It was challenging for us to get out of it. Kauai High, again, capitalized on our mistakes.”
Later on with the score tied at 27, Schmick scored the last two points off a kill and an ace to give Kapaa the win.
In the last matchup between the Warriors and Red Raiders in the season opener earlier this month, Schmick tallied the match-winning ace.
“When I had the ball, I was just thinking of the last game against Kauai High,” the Warriors senior said. “I really wanted to put it out for my teammates after making those errors, and I wanted to make it up to them.”
Kauai High head coach Enoch A’ana said he tried a new approach Friday night. Though the team lost, A’ana said he saw progress.
“It may have not worked completely tonight, but the scores say differently for us,” A’ana said. “It was a pretty close first and third set. I think our boys, the game plan that we’re working on, is working. Right now, what we need to do is stick to that game plan and hope we can keep minimizing our mistakes.”
Kapaa had three scorers in double-digits on Friday. Schmick had 19 kills and two aces. Senior middle Saxsen Shiira had 15 kills and two assists. Senior outside hitter Kurt Napoleon had 11 kills and two digs.
Kapaa senior setter Jayson Hawthorne had a game-high 36 assists.
Senior outside hitter Tyron Libarios-Moses had 14 kills, an ace and two digs for Kauai High. Sophomore outside hitter Kaiwi Rivera had six kills and a dig.
Red Raiders setters, senior Jhay-Carl Miguel and junior Seth Bautista, combined for 23 assists.
“It was hard fought,” A’ana said. “I think when we got a lead, everybody starts to relax a little. … When you play at a high level, you have to play relaxed. Everybody knows when you start to tense up, it’s not good after that. We just have to remember to breathe, to relax and just keep doing what we were doing great.”
Kapaa also won the junior varsity match, 2-1. The JV Warriors topped the Red Raiders — 25-23, 12-25 and 27-25.
In the night’s other varsity match, Waimea defeated Island School in straight sets at home — 25-13, 25-14 and 25-23.
Kapaa will host Waimea (2-2 KIF) on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
A Warriors win would award Kapaa the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season’s first round.
“The approach doesn’t change. I think more so, it goes back to mental toughness, which is what we’re working on,” Kaona said. “Our game, I’m OK with where we’re at. We just got to clean up a few things here and there. But the mental toughness, I want us to stay on top of that.”
Kauai High will host Island School (0-4 KIF) on Tuesday. The JV match will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.