KAPAA — “It’s tough to live like this,” said Waimea girls volleyball coach Chad Delanoza in the midst of the excitement of Kapaa High School’s senior night festivities at the Bernice Hundley Gym, Tuesday night. “This was a hard-fought game to the end. Misfortunes turn to unforced errors.”
The Kapaa High School senior night where eight graduating seniors — Brianna Binder, Kailee Bush, Leipua Kaui, Kahele Maka-Adric, Rachel Pleas, Anolani Rosa, Keani Tolenoa, and Tia Takasaki — were honored for their services before an appreciative, overflow crowd was made sweeter after Kapaa outlasted Waimea in five sets — 9-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-27, and 15-11.
“We mixed it up tonight,” said Kapaa coach Evan Costa. “Certain situations, certain girls. This was the only thing we could do. We could’ve done the same thing, but this is the only thing we could’ve done.”
Waimea rolled to a 25-9 first set behind behind strong service strings from Gabrielle Peleras and Daysha Nelmida Rice, but ran into trouble in the second and third sets when Kapaa came alive.
“The girls did a great job of keeping the ball alive,” Costa said. “The back row kept the ball alive, the libero, Takasaki, dug out some big balls, and even our front line had some nice digs.”
Holding a 2-1 advantage heading into the fourth set, the Menehune took an 8-2 lead behind a Nelmida Rice service string that included a kill and key Warrior errors.
Tolenoa took over in the service block and pulled Kapaa to a 7-9 deficit that saw Pleas come up the leftside and sophomore Lani Alo getting a big block.
Tied at 19-19, Pleas served up an ace en route to a 22-20 lead before a Menehune hitting error pushed the button on a 23-20 lead.
The Menehune weren’t done as Nelmida Rice served up the rally, but fell short, 22-25.
Kapaa and Waimea battled at the net on a close third set before a Tolenoa kill pulled the Warriors into the driver’s seat on the back-and-forth skirmish. Talia Washington brought Bush to the service block for a string that pulled Kapaa to 24-19 on two Menehune errors before a Kaui dump up the middle sealed the 25-22 final score.
Kapaa knotted the fourth set, 22-22 on a Kaui block in the middle to ignite the fans’ enthusiasm as Waimea’s Raelee Samio went up the middle for the 23-22 go-ahead only to have Kapaa catch up on a Menehune hitting error.
Freshman Maeha Piturachsatit took the service block for two points with Alo pulling Kapaa up, 25-24 only to have Waimea answer with a Peleras kill knotting the set, 25-25. A Kapaa error helped Waimea to the advantage before Peleras sealed the 27-25 win, forcing the fifth set.
Kapaa took a 7-4 lead in the pivotal set behind a five-point service string from Tolenoa that included hits from Pleas and a hit and block from Alo.
Waimea tied the set behind Tehani Togioka’s service string that included kills from Peleras and Nelmida Rice.
Pleas served up a 13-9 lead for Kapaa that included a hit from Washington, a back row slam from Tolenoa, and a Kaui block before Kapaa closed the books behind Menehune miscues.
“You have to give credit to Kapaa for what they did,” Delanoza said. “They have the numbers coming into the match. We’re looking ahead to Friday when we meet Island School and nothing else. We need to play to win. We have everything to lose. There’s no rest for us.”
Following the match, Kapaa, Waimea and Kauai high schools sit with 3-2 second round standings — a three-way tie.
Earlier in the night, Waimea’s junior varsity team kept its undefeated streak alive — 25-18, 25-20 and 25-13 — with one more match remaining in its season.
Rachel Curnan from the Kauai High School team had time to bring several of her teammates to the Bernice Hundley Gym to join the festivities for Warrior seniors after the Red Raiders took the Island School varsity in three sets — 25-13, 25-16 and 25-19. The Kauai JV also swept the Voyagers — 27-25, 25-14 and 26-24.
Kauai next hosts Kapaa on Friday for its senior night with the JV match starting at 5 p.m. Waimea will travel to the Wilcox Gymnasium at Island School for its match which starts with the JV game at 5 p.m. and the varsity starting no earlier than 6:30 p.m.
Should Waimea win at Island School, the Menehune will face the winner of the Kauai/Kapaa game in a playoff for the second round.
Kauai JV over Island School, 27-25, 25-14, 26-24
Kauai Varsity over Island School, 25-13, 25-16, 25-19
Waimea JV over Kapaa, 25-18, 25-20, 25-13
Kapaa over Waimea 9-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-27, 15-11