Starters lead Warriors’ win over Menehune

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kapaa’s Kiran Costa digs out a ball in traffic in the second set, Tuesday during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys volleyball games against Waimea at the Bernice Hundley Gym.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Waimea’s Ryan Emayo-Schmitt goes up to defend on a ball by Kapaa’s Nathan Gardner in the third set, Tuesday night during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys volleyball games at the Bernice Hundley Gym.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kapaa’s Kesomi Fonua hits against the defense of Waimea’s Arnie Fernandez in the second set, Tuesday during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys volleyball games at the Bernice Hundley Gym.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kapaa’s Kiran Costa hits against the Waimea defense put up by Ryan Emayo-Schmitt and Jaymin Kali-Palau in the second set, Tuesday during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys volleyball games at the Bernice Hundley Gym.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kapaa’s Kurtis Fujito-Pascua and Justin Faidley go up to defend against a shot by Waimea’s Bryson Kapahu in the first set, Tuesday night during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys volleyball games at the Bernice Hundley Gym.

KAPAA — Led by members of its starters, Kapaa High School finished Tuesday night with wins over Waimea High School in straight sets during Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys volleyball games at Bernice Hundley Gym.

Kiran Costa hammered the final points in the first two sets where Kapaa took 25-17 and 25-16 victories over Waimea. Justin Faidley switched from defensive mode to nail the final point in the the 25-22 victory, the straight-set win preserving Kapaa’s string of wins going.

Earlier in the evening, the Kapaa Junior Varsity beat the Menehune JV, 25-14, 25-15, and 25-21.

“We tried to play consistent ball,” said Kapaa coach Kapule Kaona. “We want the boys to perform consistently through the entire night. But we didn’t play consistently, and that is very frustrating.”

All three sets were seesaw battles. The final set went tough, allowing the Menehune into the 20-point realm as Menehune hitter Bryson Kapahu brought Waimea to within a digit, 22-23 on a slam.

“Mental errors,” said Waimea coach Kell Nonaka. “The boys broke down at critical times. We had solid performances from the crew — Ryan Emayo-Schmitt was hitting the ball well, Keahi Mattos had his moments, and Kepa Kali-Bagaoisan, we just need to get him in the news. But we broke down, mentally.”

Faidley broke a 15-15 deadlock in the first set, and Kapaa moved ahead on hits from Costa, a Faidley ace, and Menehune errors before Costa sealed the deal, 25-17, Waimea’s final point coming on an Arnie Fernandez ball.

During the second set, Waimea stayed close with a Warrior service error pulling the Menehune to within a digit, 9-10. The Warrior lead was capped on solid hitting by Raine Youn and Ala Gonsalves, a sophomore.

Costa went to work with hitting and blocking to build Kapaa’s 17-11 lead before Waimea answered with a pair of hammers from Kapahu that pulled Waimea close, 14-20 before Kapaa surged ahead and closed the door on a Costa hammer.

A Kapaa error put Waimea in the driver’s seat during the third set, and following a string of point-for-point exhanges, Kapaa took control on a Faidley block and hit for an 18-14 go-ahead. But Warrior miscues kept the door open until Kapaa’s La‘akea Gonsalves settled the scoreboard on a 20-16 Kapaa margin.

A Menehune block by Kahanu Malama pulled Waimea to within a pair, 18-20, and a Kapahu hammer saw the deficit fall to within a digit before Kapaa’s Kesomi Fonua got comfortable for the 24th point, and Faidley sealing the deal with a big hit down the middle.

“We got to play everybody,” Kaona said. “That made me happy. We have a big crop of seniors graduating, and it’s critical that we have court time for our bench. This round, we have been able to give our bench more time on the floor, but that is thanks for our starters who keep the younger players comfortable and confident out there.”

Kapaa next hosts Island School Friday night at Bernice Hundley Gym with a single game starting at 6:30 p.m.

Waimea will travel to the Kauai High School gym for a meeting with the Red Raiders to start the final leg of Round 2. The JV match starts at 5 p.m. followed by the varsity match.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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