WAIMEA — Kapaa girls volleyball coach Evan Costa is wondering where the extra gear is following Kapaa’s close loss to Waimea in five sets Friday at the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea.
“The girls are playing steady,” Costa said. “But in this point of the season, there needs to be the extra gear. That hasn’t shown yet because of the lack of experience. A lot of our girls have never played before, and this is where the value of having a community club comes in.”
Waimea took both ends of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation volleyball games that started late because of Kapaa’s late arrival to Waimea. The Junior Varsity Menehune kept its undefeated streak going with a three-set win, 25-9, 25-18 and 25-12, and the varsity Menehune came from a 0-2 deficit to win the remaining three sets, 23-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-18 and 15-10.
“The girls are missing their coach,” said Chris Cardejon. “They played this game for him tonight. Coach Chad Delanoza couldn’t make it tonight, so the girls had to adjust to that as well.”
Kapaa opened the night by clawing back from a 9-5 deficit behind solid play from Lani Alo in the middle, and a hit from the back by Maea Piturachsatit. A block from Leipua Kaui combined with solid hits from Talia Washington to pull Kapaa ahead, 12-11. The Warriors held firm, sealing the first set on a hit from left-hander Keani Tolenoa.
Errors plagued the Menehune in the second set, and combined with the hitting from Washington and Tolenoa, Kapaa built an 11-4 lead behind a string of serves from Tia Takasaki who put together six unanswered points. Kapaa sealed the set on a Menehune error.
Coming from a 4-4 deadlock in the third set, Waimea’s Isabella Bateman served up six unanswered points for a 9-4 lead as fatigue started showing on the greenshirts when a passing error made it 18-9, Waimea.
Regrouping, Kapaa came back in the fray when Kailee Bush put together a string of serves for six unanswered points to bring Kapaa back 20-23 before the Menehune held off the comeback and sealed the set behind a Daysha Nelmida Rice kill.
Waimea also got strong court leadership from Leiko Yamauchi and hitting from Gabrielle Pelaris, Kiara Silva and Nelmida Rice with defensive efforts in the middle being shared by Daneica Muraoka and Raelee Samio.
“The fans pumped up the girls in the last three sets,” Cardejon said. “They wanted it. But Kapaa came to play tonight. They brought the fight to Waimea and our girls were caught off-guard. We’ve worked on trying to get a good start from the first ball. We still have to work on those slow starts.”
Kapaa hosts Kauai Tuesday at the Bernice Hundley Gym, the junior varsity match starting at 5 p.m. followed by the varsity no earlier than 6:30 p.m.
“We don’t know what the future holds,” Costa said. “We gotta play every game well, and we just gotta keep winning.”
Waimea will host Island School Tuesday at the Clem Gomes Gym starting at 5 p.m.
“We haven’t lost a game yet,” said Bandi Hori-Moises, the Waimea JV coach. “We still have four more games ahead of us.”