WAIMEA — Kauai High School coach Enoch A‘ana did not call a time out Friday night at the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea.
“Our goal tonight was to have the boys dig themselves out of a situation,” A‘ana said after the team’s win over the Menehune in four sets. “When they are down, they have to find a way out. At one point, we were down at least 11 points, but I didn’t call a time out. We never called a time out the entire night.”
Kauai High School took the series over Waimea, 25-20,14-25, 25-21 and 25-23.
In the second series of matches, Kapaa junior varsity was a 2-1 winner over Island School, 25-9, 25-21, 21-25. The Kapaa varsity team, capturing the Round 1 title with its win over Waimea Tuesday, took the Voyagers, 25-11, 25-5, 25-14.
During the first set, Waimea took the lead when Mark “Kepa” Kali-Bagaoisan’s service forced the Raiders into passing errors. The Menehune followed with a Carl Mecham slam before Kauai answered with a Tajh Mapuhi ball up the middle, and a Tyron Libarios-Moses bang forced the Menehune into passing miscues and stalemated the game, 3-3.
Kauai took the lead off an ace from Libarios-Moises and never looked back, staying ahead of Waimea for the remainder of the set, building a lead to as much as six points behind an ace from Kaimani Tecson and hits from Libarios-Moses for a 16-10 bulge. Kaiwi Rivera put the set to bed on a hit down the side.
Waimea took the second set, 25-14 after A‘ana cleared his bench, leaving just the junior varsity players with no court time.
The Menehune jumped on the fresh legs, taking control with a Mecham hit for the 5-2 go-ahead.
But the Raiders countered by capitalizing on Menehune hitting miscues and strung together three unanswered points for a 9-9 deadlock only to have Waimea turn the tables, capitalizing on hitting errors from Avery Ramos and Jayden Gandia for the 12-9 go-ahead.
Waimea put together a string of six unanswered points highlighted by three big blocks and a Mecham hit for the 19-11 lead that went answered.
“Our biggest hurdle is that we’re blessed with a young team,” said Waimea coach Alton Shimatsu. “It takes experience to be able to compete with Kapaa, Kauai or Island School. We’re building experience during game time while trying to develop positions. The hard part is we’re coming off spring break and we have players not coming to practice.”
In the remaining two sets, Kauai came from behind before sealing the deal on kills from Libarios-Moses and Rivera.
“I’m proud of everyone on the team,” A‘ana said. “They dug deep and did what they needed to do as a team. We still have work ahead of us to prepare for Round 2. We’ll just have to work hard, stick to the game plan and prepare for mental toughness.”
Shimatsu said it’s hard because there is no break between Round 1 and Round 2.
“We just have to play to our strengths,” Shimatsu said. “We can have good practice, but under game pressure things don’t work the same way. It takes experience.”
The Kauai Interscholastic Federation Round 2 starts Tuesday when Kauai hosts Kapaa with the junior varsity game starting at 5 p.m. at the Kauai High School gym. The varsity match starts no earlier than 6:30 p.m.
Waimea will travel to the Island School Wilcox Gymnasium.