WAIMEA — The Menehune boys recovered from a late deficit to beat the Red Raiders for the first time this season.
Waimea High School’s varsity boys volleyball team defeated Kauai High in four sets Tuesday at the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea — 23-25, 25-20, 25-19 and 25-20.
“We got all of our players back. It shows with more experience that we can compete,” said Waimea head coach Alton Shimatsu. “We just had to play our own game. And when we’re ahead, we have to keep the lead.
“We always tend to fall behind. Our goal was to stay ahead when we’re ahead, and to fight back when we were behind,” he continued.
After dropping the first set, Waimea (4-5 KIF, 2-1 2nd round) won the next three to get a leg up over Kauai High in the season’s second round standings.
“I think we all wanted it more. We as a team, coaches and players, put in more work than we have in the previous part of the season,” Shimatsu said. “We will continue to put in the work.”
Kauai High (5-4 KIF, 1-2 2nd round) had a late 17-14 lead in the fourth set and had a good chance of extending the match to a fifth set.
The Red Raiders got that three-point lead off a kill by sophomore outside hitter Kaiwi Rivera.
Waimea then found a second wind to regain the lead down the stretch. Menehune senior outside hitter Carl Mecham tallied five kills to get Waimea in front.
“Having that big hit gives everybody energy — to keep pushing and keep trying,” Mecham said. “Just with those hits, it puts pressure on me, but I have to do it for my team.”
He added: “Everybody did their job. Our setter (sophomore Shayne Simbre-Medeiros), he gave nice, easy sets for me to hit — points every time. Everybody just did their job, and it worked well tonight.”
Kauai High started the evening well to win the opening set. The Red Raiders outscored the Menehune in the first with 14 kills to 10.
A’ana added the team, despite the early success, perhaps wasn’t completely dialed into the match and couldn’t carry that early momentum throughout.
“They needed this. This was a rude awakening for them,” he said. “When we walk into a gym, we should be all focused on the game and not other situations. For some reason, the boys were anxious.
“And because there’s no JV game, we’re waiting here extra long. But I’m not using that as an excuse. Waimea played brilliantly tonight,” A’ana continued. “All props to them. They deserve the win.”
Despite losing the lead late in the fourth set, A’ana opted not call a timeout. In fact, he didn’t use any timeouts during the match hoping his team would be able to work through complications.
“The boys got to be mentally tough,” he said. “Sometimes, you just have to play through adversity and hopefully things will change. I think me not calling a timeout, sometimes it can break momentum as well. So, I just try to let them figure it out.”
Mecham totaled 17 kills, 17 assists and three digs for Waimea. Senior outside hitter Kaleohano Castaneda had seven kills and a dig.
Simbre-Medeiros had nine assists, a kill and an ace. Menehune sophomore libero Mark Kali-Bagaoisan had five digs and an ace.
Rivera scored six kills for Kauai High. Senior outside hitter Tyron Libarios-Moses led the team with 11 kills and a dig.
Red Raiders senior setter Jhay-Carl Miguel recored a game-high 24 assists. Sophomore outside hitter Kaimani Tecson got five kills and two digs.
In the night’s other Kauai Interscholastic Federation varsity match, Kapaa defeated Island School in straight sets in Puhi — 27-25, 25-14 and 25-11.
Kapaa also won the junior varsity contest at Island School — 25-18, 25-19 and 17-15.
Waimea will host Island School (0-9 KIF, 0-3 2nd round) at 6 p.m. Friday.
Kauai High will play at Kapaa (9-0 KIF, 3-0 2nd round) on Friday. The JV match will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.