LIHUE — In front of a loud home crowd in the school’s homecoming weekend, the Red Raider girls delivered.
Kauai High School’s varsity girls volleyball team defeated Waimea in straight sets Saturday night in its home gym — 25-18, 25-20 and 25-23.
“I’m just proud of them for doing the things we practiced, and making adjustments to what we just did,” said Kauai head coach Kehaulani Regidor. “They adapted really well.”
Regidor said of winning on homecoming weekend: “(We played) on a high. Everybody was excited about a home game against them. So, everyone helped, even being in the crowd, and the girls on the bench helped, too.”
Tied 20-20 in the third set, Kauai scored four consecutive points for a 24-20 lead — one point away from sealing a three-set sweep.
But Waimea then came back with three points to cut the deficit to one, and threatened to force a fourth set.
In the ensuing rally, a point attempt by Menehune junior outside hitter Keana Silva sailed out of bounds to end the contest.
“I feel so proud to be a part of this school, and to represent my team and school,” said Red Raiders junior outside hitter Jolea Pillos, who ended the match with three kills — including the game-winner in the second set — and two digs.
With Saturday’s result, both Kauai and Waimea are tied at the top of the league standings with 3-1 records with two games left in the season’s first round.
Whomever has the best record in the first six games will win the season’s first of two rounds. Should two or more teams be tied after the round ends, playoff games will determine a winner.
“It’s anybody’s season,” said Waimea head coach Chad Delanoza. “They (Kauai) came off a really good five-set win against Kapaa, in Kapaa, and that’s a really tough place to play. Every home-court game you get to win, or every place that you visit, it’s always a tough place to win.”
Regidor said of a potential playoff game: “All of them pretty much count. We want to eventually force that playoff, but we want to do it game-by-game.”
Delanoza said the loss in straight sets was very disappointing, but hopes his squad will learn and move on from it.
“We just got our butt whupped tonight. It’s a lesson for us to see our challenges ahead,” he said. “We’re not taking away from what they had done, what Kauai High School had done. They came to play, and we just showed up. We just didn’t show up to play the game. We just showed up.”
Red Raiders junior middle Hailey Iha had 12 kills and one assist. Junior right-side hitter Kahiau Kaiminaauao had nine kills and a dig. Junior middle Rebecca Zenger had eight kills and an ace.
Sophomore setter Vanessa Alcones had 13 assists and three digs for Kauai High. Junior setter Kaytlyn Perlas had eight assists and three digs. Sophomore libero Darien Kealoha-Albarado had six digs and an ace.
Silva had five kills and two digs for Waimea. Menehune junior outside hitter Gabrielle Peleras led the team with 14 kills, an ace, an assist and a dig. Freshman middle blocker Raelee Samio had eight kills and an ace.
Menehune senior opposite Leiko Yamauchi had a game-high 22 assists with two digs, an ace and a kill. Junior outside hitter Daysha Nelmida-Rice had two kills, two aces and four digs.
In the junior varsity match, Waimea’s JV team won all three sets against Kauai, 25-13, 25-11 and 25-15.
In the night’s other Kauai Interscholastic Federation match, the Island School junior varsity took Kapaa in three sets, 25-23, 25-19, 25-22, at the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa. Rolling on the momentum, Voyager coach Gary Maguire piloted the Voyager women to a 3-2 win over the Warriors.
Kapaa took the first two sets, 25-19, 25-20, before the varsity Voyagers rebounded with three straight sets, 25-16, 25-18, and 15-12.
Waimea will host Kapaa, and Kauai High will play at Island School on Tuesday. The JV matches will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity matches follow.