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Red Raiders win in straight sets

PUHI — The Red Raider girls bounced back to get their first win of the season’s second round.

Kauai High School’s varsity girls volleyball team defeated Island School in straight sets Friday evening at the Wilcox Gymnasium in Puhi — 25-18, 25-18 and 25-23.

“It was a ‘needed to do’ game. We needed to perform in order to have our fate in our own hands,” said Kauai High head coach Kehaulani Regidor.

The Red Raiders opened the second round with a 3-2 loss to Waimea at home on Tuesday.

“They knew. After that game, we talked about it. We came out pretty good. I’m proud of them,” Regidor said.

Kauai High (4-4 KIF, 1-1 2nd round) was able to sustain leads for most of the three-set match.

“Every time, we try to correct our own mistakes, which gives (the opponent) points and runs,” Regidor said. “I tell them to lessen the point or runs we give each team. That’s our biggest challenge — to stop runs early.”

Red Raiders junior middle Rebecca Zenger added: “I think the thing that we did best was when we messed up, after that happened we’d pick ourselves up. We huddle and we’d be like, ‘We need to do this differently.’ Everyone listened after that, and we started talking more.”

Island School (3-5 KIF, 1-1 2nd round) became much more formidable in the third set. The Voyagers had a lead late in the set and had a chance of extending the match to a fourth set.

“We played hard. We tried,” said Voyagers sophomore setter Waileia Edwards, who celebrated her 16th birthday on Friday. “We tried to play as a team. We have our ups and downs, and we have to learn how to stay up. Other than that, we did pretty good.”

The last time Island School hosted Kauai High, the Red Raiders won the opening set but the Voyagers went on to win, 3-1.

“I remember what happened. We got quiet,” Zenger said. “We weren’t gelling together, and that’s when the points started coming one after the other. We learned this time. We just have to keep talking no matter what.”

Edwards said of possibly coming back: “We’re always looking for opportunities to win. … We have to mesh more as a team, I think. We’re still playing like there’s six different people on the court and not one team.”

Late in the third, Voyagers sophomore outside hitter Ashley Mecham suffered what appeared to be a leg injury and didn’t return. The entire crowd in the gym fell silent and gave Mecham an ovation when she was helped off the court.

At the time, Island had a 22-21 lead. Mecham ended with a game-high 18 kills with an ace and four assists.

Zenger finished with seven kills including the game-winner in the second set. Junior middle Hailey Iha and junior outside hitter Maria Gojkovic each had eight kills. Sophomore setter Vanessa Alcones had seven assists and an ace.

Edwards finished with five kills, two aces and an assist for Island School. Senior setter Emma Kelekoma had 16 assists, a kill and an ace.

Kauai High also won the junior varsity contest — 25-20, 25-23 and 25-23.

Kauai High will play at Kapaa High School, and Island School will play at Waimea High School on Tuesday. The JV matches will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.

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