WAIMEA — Having the portable field lights available at the Wilcox Gymnasium was a good decision for Island School Wednesday during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball games.
“We were crowded at the last game,” said Royce Ebesu, a team parent who was assisting officials during the KIF air riflery match that took place ahead of the volleyball games. “This is the place to be. But we don’t have any lights for the parking area — not even any lights on the building — so we brought in some lights to help with lighting up the parking area.”
The crowds came to watch the Islanders take their series, starting with the Voyager Junior Varsity taking a 2-1 series over Kapaa — 25-18, 26-28 and 25-22. The excitement continued with the Voyager varsity getting past the Warrior wahine 3-1 — 25-16, 21-25, 25-18 and 25-18.
Over at Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea, the hosting Menehune split their series with Kauai High, the JV Menehune losing to Kauai in three, 25-9, 25-18 and 26-24. The varsity Menehune redeemed the opening loss to rebound with its second straight three-set victory — 25-7, 25-15 and 25-11.
Waimea varsity pulled away from a 4-1 bulge in the first set, Raelee Samio opening the run with a hit, and Kepler Niccore’s bang moving the score to 12-1 lead.
A Samio ace moved the score to 16-2, and following some courtside grappling, Tehani Togioka’s hit moved he Menehune lead to 20-5. Kauai’s Vanessa Alcones dug out a spectacular ball for the Red Raiders’ final point in the opening set, and Waimea’s Isabella Bateman hit a winner for the 25-7 victory.
“This is always team,” said Waimea coach Brandi Hori-Moises. “Raelee set the pace, and the other girls make the adjustments to help each other out there. We were able to pull Raelee in the third set and let some of the other girls get their touches on the ball — they all work hard at practice, and every one deserves an opportunity to play.”
Waimea continued the momentum in the second set, Naomi “Maya” Naka‘ahiki putting together a string of seven unanswered balls from the service block to push the Menehune to an 8-5 lead.
Kauai’s Nahe Bukoski stopped the Menehune run on a kill, and followed that with another hit to bring the Raiders closer. Waileia Edwards helped the cause on a hit before Waimea’s Togioka’s ace moved the set to 20-9.
The Raiders would not relent. Facing a 10-24 deficit in the second set, Alyssa Kaneshiro engineered a string of unanswered balls from the service block, getting help from hits by Katherine O’Neill, Bukoski and Darien Kealoha-Albarado until a service error sealed the set.
“Those long strings did us in,” said Kauai coach Kehau Regidor. “The girls’ confidence goes down. They try and make the adjustments, but in the chase, they overcompensate, and that doesn’t help them. We need to figure out how they can become stronger and be more self-confident on the floor.”
With the outcome of Wednesday’s matches, the Kauai Interscholastic Federation reaches the midpoint of the first round, with Waimea leading the league, undefeated at 3-0. The Voyagers, following a heart-breaking three-set loss to Waimea last Saturday, follow with a 2-1 record. Kapaa is at 1-2, and the Red Raiders are still looking for the elusive “W” at 0-3.
Kapaa makes the trip to Clem Gomes Gym Saturday to start the home stretch of round one, and Kauai hosts Island School, with first serves in the JV tilts at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity matches.