PUHI — Kauai High School’s varsity boys volleyball team defeated Island School in straight sets Tuesday night at the Wilcox Gymnasium in Puhi.
The Red Raiders beat the Voyagers — 25-14, 25-22, 25-10.
“Tonight was about playing the bench,” said Kauai head coach Enoch A‘ana. “Our season is almost coming to an end. We have a lot of kids that really don’t get that chance to play in other games. So, we really wanted to play our bench tonight and make sure that, we have a lot of seniors — eight seniors — and I wanted everybody to play.”
With Kauai’s reserves getting minutes, the second set saw six lead changes.
Tied at 20-20, Kauai (5-4 KIF, 2-1 2nd round) took a 21-20 lead on a Voyagers error. Soon after, Island leveled the score at 22-22 on a kill by Bryce Leonard.
The Red Raiders again took the lead on a kill by Samuel Asano. Asano went on to score the set-winning kill to clinch the second set for Kauai.
In the third set, Kauai shot out to a 19-6 lead en route to clinching to win in straight sets.
In the later parts of the set, Kauai’s Rence Soriano posted four aces.
“I think it all starts with the serve. I always tell everyone that you can’t start to get a point if we don’t get the ball over,” A‘ana said. “What’s the point of giving them a free ball? We have to get the ball over. Whether it’s a hard serve or a soft serve, it’s got to go over in order for us to try to score.”
Island School (0-9 KIF, 0-3 2nd round) saw one of its more statistically-productive matches at home on Tuesday. Collectively, the Voyagers totaled 20 kills.
“Tonight, they showed that they can play as a team and create opportunities, like taking the extra step for diving for the ball, getting an arm out and being helpful when the play is broken,” said Island head coach Erin Nitta. “That was our goal, to play as a team tonight and create opportunities.”
Nitta added of the competitive second set: “Our energy level was definitely there. The team was very supportive. We were doing our job and producing a lot of quality plays. I think our stats were pretty high on the second set with the kills, blocks and definitely on the digging side.”
The Voyagers coach said perhaps the same level of production didn’t carry over into the third set was because the team was spent of energy after the second set.
“We just ran out of gas,” she said. “The boys put a lot of energy in the second set. I think we just ran out of energy.”
A‘ana said of Island’s efforts: “Honestly, they’re a young team and they have a great coach in Erin. She comes from a lineage of volleyball players. Her brother coaches at HBA (Hawaii Baptist Academy), which is what? 13 Division II championships that they’ve won? They come from a lineage of volleyball players. Those boys are lucky to have her as a coach, and I can see it. The defense is great, and that’s where it starts.”
Asano ended with three kills for Kauai. Soriano had five kills, four aces and 11 assists. Kaimani Tecson led the Red Raiders with 14 kills. Joshua Garcia had 12 assists.
Leonard had two kills for Island School. Alae Miike and Dylan Date each had five kills. Aidan Offley had four kills and a block. Josh Dobashi had 15 assists.
In a junior varsity exhibition, Kauai defeated Island School, 2-1 —25-17, 22-25, 15-12.
Kauai will host Waimea High School (4-5 KIF, 1-2 2nd round) on Friday. The JV game will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
Island School will play at Kapaa High School (9-0 KIF, 3-0 2nd round) at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.