WAIMEA — The Menehune won at home to clinch the season’s first round.
Waimea High School’s varsity girls volleyball team defeated Island School in straight sets Friday night at the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea — 25-7, 25-23 and 25-12.
“It’s tough just to win a game. To win a round, it’s a big accomplishment for us,” said Waimea head coach Chad Delanoza. “It starts with our coaching staff as well as these kids, but our coaching staff really helped them prepare to do their job well.”
Waimea (5-1 KIF) totaled 12 aces en route to defeating Island. Menehune junior setter Leiko Yamauchi scored four aces, and sophomore libero Tehani Togioka had three.
Delanoza said since the team’s only loss, a straight-set defeat to Kauai High on Sept. 9, the team has definitely kicked things up a few gears.
“Practices for us have been really great,” he said. “We’ve had to do tweaking (and) tinkering here and there with what we’ve done from that Kauai High School match. Like I said, all in all, our coaching staff really played a big, huge part with what we did in the beginning of the week and what we did today.”
Island School (2-4 KIF) had an early 6-0 lead in the second set. Waimea, though, caught up and took a 12-11 midway and kept the lead through the end to win a closely contested set.
“I think Waimea’s a great team, and they played well,” said Island School head coach Gary Maguire. “They passed, and their setter did an awesome job moving the ball around. And they hit well.”
Consistency was key for both teams, Maguire added.
“We started off good (in the second set). Waimea had a few mistakes, and stuff like that, to really give us an opportunity to take a lead,” Maguire said. “But in the long run, they stayed consistent and our girls struggled a little bit on passing and setting. Just a different opportunity on managing the game, but Waimea did really good tonight.”
Yamauchi finished with a game-high 21 assists as well as five kills, four aces and three digs. Menehune junior outside hitter Gabrielle Peleras led the team with 11 kills and an ace.
Junior outside hitter Daysha Nelmida-Rice had six kills, an ace and two digs for Waimea. Sophomore defensive specialist Jas Henrickson had six digs and an ace.
Voyagers sophomore outside hitter Ashley Mecham totaled 12 digs and four digs for Island. Senior setter Emma Kelekoma had six assists, three digs and an ace. Sophomore setter Wailea Edwards had five digs, four assists and one kill.
Waimea also won the junior varsity contest against Island School — 25-14, 25-11 and 25-14.
In the night’s other varsity contest, Kauai High defeated Kapaa at home, 3-1 — 25-12, 25-18, 17-25 and 25-21. Kauai High finished the first round 4-2, and Kapaa finished 1-5.
Kauai also won the JV match, 2-1 — 18-25, 25-11 and 25-21.
The season’s second round begins Sept. 26 when Kauai High hosts Waimea, and Kapaa hosts Island School. The JV matches will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.