PUHI — Ashley Mecham of the Island School Lady Voyagers did it all Wednesday night during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball match against Kauai High School at the Wilcox Gymnasium on the Island School Puhi campus.
Mecham was the go-to Voyager that led the team to a 3-1 win — 21-25, 25-17, 25-13, and 27-25 — over the Red Raiders before a near-capacity crowd that spared no cheering and bleacher-stomping in the slugfest.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Raiders set the stage with a 2-1 win in the Junior Varsity series — 25-7, 25-10, and 22-25.
“We recognize that Ashley is on a different level,” said Voyager head coach Darrick “Deej” Peleras. “She was key, tonight. Our job as coaches is to bring the girls to that level.”
Coach Deej is taking the helm of the Lady Voyagers in his inaugural season as coach after wearing a different shade of blue as a Menehune coaching staff. He is joined by fellow Menehune coaches Brad Sato, who previously helped coach the Voyagers, Tony Magaoay, Shiloh Peleras, and Shereen Peleras who also lead the JV Voyagers.
Kauai High School opened with a 25-21 win in the first set, but the Mecham effect started to show when the Lady Voyager broke the tandem defense set up by Christina (no surnames on Kauai’s official roster) and Nahe E. when Island School looked at 14-16 deficit.
Mecham hammered the ball to Island School control, but the Lady Voyagers could not get a handle on the lead.
They came back strong in the ensuing sets, June Hsu getting the Island School lead on an outside hit only to lose the lead on miscues, 3-5. The Voyagers turned the tide when Sydney Jona took the service block and strung up six unanswered points, including an ace, for the 15-10 advantage. The Voyagers continued the see-saw control until Mecham put the lid on the 25-17 win.
“This is a good bunch of players,” Coach Deej said. “They work hard. They executed fairly well, tonight, but we need to reduce those strings. The good thing about these players is they can recognize what this night has to teach and know how to correct.”
The Raiders went to its court leader Waileia Edwards to lead a strong comeback in the fourth set, trying to force the fifth set.
Capitalizing on less-than-stellar Voyager balls, Edwards hammered a 13-13 deadlock. But the seesaw would not settle, and the Voyagers went on to a 23-22 lead behind a Hsu hammer. Edwards deadlocked the contest on another outside hit, but a passing error stopped the string. A costly Kauai service error combined with a block from Voyager Wailana Marvin, and a Mecham hammer put away any hopes for the fifth set.
“We were not so great,” said Kauai coach Kehau Regidor. “Wailea is a great leader — always loud, being a leader, and very positive. But it’s frustrating. We need to clean up our play and get out of the rut — lessen those long strings.”
Kauai High School will host Kapaa Saturday while the Lady Voyagers make the trip out to Menehuneland. The first serve for the junior varsity goes off at 5 p.m. followed by the varsity match.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.