KAPAA — Waimea High School girls volleyball, under the coaching of Brandi Hori-Moises, opened the 2019 Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball season with a comeback 3-1 win over Kapaa High School Tuesday night before a supportive audience at Bernice Hundley Gym.
Greg Gonsalves, Kapaa athletic director, said the game originally scheduled for Wednesday was rescheduled through mutual agreement because the Warriors are involved with homecoming week activities that will culminate Friday when the Warrior football team meets Waimea High Menehune in a contest at Vidinha Stadium in Lihue that will be televised on OC16.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Waimea junior varsity swept the JV Warriors 25-21, 25-10 and 25-17 on the opening night of the KIF season.
The Menehune hiccupped, dropping the first set of the varsity meet, 16-25, before collecting themselves and rebounding, 25-18, 25-22, and 25-12.
Kapaa went to the service block early in the first set, Naia Burkart giving the cheerleaders something to cheer about with back-to-back aces while the Menehune grappled with court errors.
The Warriors continued to roll behind aces from Taelyn Dakamas, Cory Anela Kilar and Mahea Piturachsatit. Dakamas served up a string of five unanswered points for a 9-4 Warrior lead before a Menehune passing miscue turned the ball back to Kapaa, where Anela Kilar went to the service block for a string of seven unanswered marks, including back-to-back aces and a block from Tierra Washington.
Raelee Samio’s hit gave control to the Menehune at the 5-18 deficit, and the Menehune’s Isabella Bateman strung eight points together, fueled by hits from Kaimalie Alquiza, an opposite-side bang from Halia Moriguchi, and a dump from Makeyah Wisneski.
But the comeback came up short, as Kapaa settled the see-saw on a Piturachsatit ace.
“We didn’t know what to expect from across the net,” said Kapaa coach Ari Logan. “This is a new team, and we were able to get some preseason experience in off-island games, but this is the starting point for us. We can see what we have and where we have to build.”
Waimea settled down and came back in the ensuing three sets, including a hotly-contested third set where they walked off the court with a 25-22 win over Kapaa following seven set ties.
After Kekaimalie Hunt knotted the contest, 22-22, Waimea capitalized on Kapaa substitutions when Breanna Moises’ push up the middle broke the tie, and back-to-back Warrior miscues sealed the deal, 25-23.
Moises came back in the fourth set to string together 10 unanswered points from the service block to put away the fourth set. Taking the block with a 14-11 lead, Waimea’s string included winning hits from Tehani Togioka and Raelee Samio, and a Samio ace before the Menehune put away the set on a Samio bang and a Warrior miscue.
“This was a relief,” said Waimea coach Brandi Hori-Moises. “That opening set was just one of those things. This was so not traditional, but we learn from that. The girls are learning how to move on the court, and we’re still a young team and they are learning how to play together as well as learning about each other.”
Waimea gets an opportunity to build until next Wednesday when they host Kauai High School at the Clem Gomes Gym. The junior varsity serves start at 5 p.m. followed by the varsity match.
Kapaa will face Kauai High School Saturday at the Kauai High School gym, where JV is underway at 5 p.m.
Kauai High School opened its season Wednesday against the Island School Voyagers, who took advantage of the revised game schedule to watch Kapaa and Waimea play.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.