KAPAA — The Warriors are unbeaten through six matches.
Kapaa High School’s varsity boys volleyball team defeated Waimea High School, 3-0, Friday night at Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa to conclude the season’s first round.
“I thought we had a great night, and we needed this,” said Kapaa head coach Kapule Kaona. “We struggled in our last game earlier in the week, and we struggled in our practices, too. We really didn’t have the best practices. Coming in tonight, we made it a goal for the boys to have fun. That’s what we tried to concentrate on. I thought they played loose. I thought it was a good night for us.”
Kapaa (6-0 KIF) won in straight sets at home — 25-14, 25-22, 25-19.
In the first set, Kapaa’s Kiran Costa totaled seven kills and two blocks.
“Definitely in the first, we came out firing,” Costa said. “We haven’t done that in a while, or we don’t do that as often, but we came out firing which is great. We were a little slower, but it was good for us to come out strong. The second set, we came out strong, and then we slowed down. We stepped off the gas, but we were able to close it out. So, I think we just got to keep focused and finish throughout the set.”
The Warriors held a 22-15 lead in the second set.
Waimea (3-3 KIF) then went on a seven-point run cut the deficit to 22-21. The streak was started on a kill by Ryan Emayo-Schmitt.
“Our team definitely played better than the last time we saw Kapaa,” said Waimea assistant coach Mark Kanahele. “Kapaa did come out very strong, as well. We still have a lot of stuff to work on here and there, but definitely our team has improved since the last time.”
Kapaa, though, eventually won the set on a kill by Duke Bush.
Midway through the third set, the score was tied at 14-14. Kapaa took a 15-14 lead on a Menehune error.
A number of Menehune errors helped Kapaa widen its lead until the Warriors the third set to clinch.
“We just got to keep everybody together during those times,” Kanahele said. “When you’re getting close to the edge, in between those close points, that’s when everybody’s got to fight together and come together.”
The Warriors took the third set on a kill by Raine Youn. It was his only point scored.
“Raine is a great story. Last year, he was one of our starters. This year, he’s not in that starting postition,” Kaona said. “He’s working to get back into that starting position. The great thing about our team is we have the depth and competitiveness. That’s where it starts. They got to fight for that position every single practice. The best guy ends up on the floor and gets the start.
“He hasn’t gotten his number called too much this season. He is a senior and a starter from last year. Obviously, he’s got a great fan base. A lot of people love him, a lot of friends. It just goes to show how he is as a person — very sociable and very likable. It was very pleasing for him to get the winning kill.”
Costa led Kapaa with a game-high 17 kills with two blocks and an ace. Bush had five kills and an ace. Robert “Ali‘i” Brown had eight kills and a block.
Warriors setter Rusdan-Rocket Ahuna had a game-high 35 assists with a kill and an ace.
Emayo-Schmitt led Waimea with seven kills and a block. Keahi Mattos had five kills and two blocks. Bryson Kapahu had five kills.
Menehune setter Jonah Sandal totaled 16 assists.
Waimea head coach Kell Nonaka wasn’t available for comment following Friday’s match.
Kapaa also won the junior varsity match on Tuesday, winning all three sets against the JV Menehune — 25-8, 25-17, 25-10.
Kapaa will play at Island School (0-6 KIF) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to begin the regular season’s second round.
Waimea will host Kauai High School (3-3 KIF) on Tuesday. The junior varsity game will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.