PUHI — The Menehune boys started their season with consecutive wins.
Waimea High School’s varsity boys volleyball team defeated Island School in straight sets Tuesday at the Wilcox Gymnasium on the Island School campus in Puhi.
“Yeah, it’s exciting. Just trying to take it one game at a time, pretty much,” said Waimea head coach Kell Nonaka.
He added: “For the past couple of practices, we’ve been incorporating different plays. Tonight was more about showcasing (that), them showing us really in game situations how we can perform the new plays. It’s just about mixing it up.”
Waimea (2-0 KIF) beat Island School — 25-5, 25-15, 25-22.
In the first set, Waimea outside hitter Kapahu led the team with five kills and an ace. Ryan Emayo-Schmitt also had five kills in the set for the Menehune.
“First game was hard for us. We really had to push though,” Kapahu said of the team’s win streak. “I think it was a good lesson for us because we learned to play together and build up through adversity. This game, we did all right, but it’s not how we wanted to end the game — not that close.”
In the third set, Waimea got out to a 16-11 lead on a kill by Arnie Fernandez and appeared to be rolling to a straight set win. But Island School (0-2 KIF) kept pace with Waimea in the later parts of the set.
Facing a 24-18 deficit, one point away from defeat, Island went on a three-point streak to cut into Waimea’s lead and trying to force the match into the fourth set.
Island School’s Bryce Leonard scored two aces in that late streak.
“We definitely had a slow start,” said Island head coach Erin Nitta. “We were trying some new things, trying people in different spots. As the game progressed, they got used to where they needed to be — doing their job and making sure they were in the right spots. That’s how you saw the team grow from the first set to the third set.”
Waimea clinched the win on a kill by Kepa Kali-Bagaoisan.
“He’s actually our libero,” Nonaka said. “No. 3 is actually our libero, so that was pretty funny.”
Kapahu said of Kali-Bagaoisan’s match-winning kill: “We were trying to set him up. That was the whole plan. If it got to that point, then he wanted the last point.”
During the third set, Island School setter John Bancroft took a ball to the face off a hit from a Waimea attacker. Bancroft was substituted out of the match but appeared OK.
Bancroft, though, ended up scoring a point and was credited with a block on the play.
“He doesn’t show any signs of concussion, but we just want to be sure our players are safe,” Nitta said. “But he’s very happy he got hit in the face. It’s kind of like a pride thing, I guess, for the boys. It really is. But he’s happy. He’s in good spirits. We’re just going to have him checked out to make sure everything’s OK.”
Kapahu ended with 10 kills and two aces for Waimea. Emayo-Schmitt also ended with 10 kills. Menehune setter Jonah Sandal had 21 assists and an ace.
Bancroft had seven assists, two blocks and a kill for Island School. Aidan Offley totaled five kills and an ace.
Waimea will host Kapaa (2-0 KIF) on Friday. The junior varsity match will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
“Kapaa’s a tough team. We definitely need to work on defense. If we don’t, we got another thing coming,” Nonaka said. “Other than that, we just can’t anything lightly. We can’t get overconfident.”
Island School will play at Kauai High School (0-2 KIF) at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.