WAIMEA — Waimea High School battled through five hard-fought sets against Kapaa Saturday during Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball matches at Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea.
When the dust settled, the Menehune wahine retained its undefeated run with a 3-2 win — 20-25, 25-19, 25-27, 25-16 and 15-7 — over the Warrior wahine, improving to 4-0.
“We are definitely proud of how our girls played tonight,” said Brandi Hori-Moises, the Menehune coach. “We needed a game like this to test our abilities.”
Meanwhile, over at the Kauai High School gym, the Island School Voyagers dampened the Red Raider homecoming festivities with a four-set win — 25-14, 25-21, 21-25 and 25-12 — to improve to 3-1 in the first round.
The results set up a showdown Wednesday when the Menehune visit the Wilcox Gymnasium in Puhi for its second showing against the Voyagers, and Kauai travels to the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa for its second meeting against the Warrior wahine.
Earlier in the evening, the Waimea junior varsity squad was a 2-1 winner over the JV Lady Warriors, 25-16, 26-24 and 21-25, while over at the home of the Red Raiders, the Kauai JV took its series in straight sets — 25-15, 25-18, 25-19 — over the JV Voyagers.
Coming off a late start created when the Menehune JV extended play with its long sets, Waimea and Kapaa varsity battled to a 10-10 deadlock when Lani Alo took the service block for Kapaa and served up a string to a 15-10 lead fueled by hits from Talia Washington and Maeha Piturachsatit and a Menehune passing error.
More defensive fireworks erupted before the strong home fan base until Kapaa’s Kekaimalie Hunt whacked to a 24-18 lead, but could not shut the door when Waimea’s Raelee Samio forced the side out.
A Kapaa passing error kept the Menehune alive, but only for a ball until the Menehune committed a service error to end the match.
“You cannot take coach Ari Logan and her Warriors lightly,” Hori-Moises said. “They are always ready to give you a good game. This was a humbling experience for us.”
The Menehune rebounded in the second set, capitalizing on Kapaa errors.
Breaking away from a 20-20 deadlock in the third set, Tehani Togioka built a Menehune lead with a block followed by Breanna Moises pushing the ball for a 24-21 bulge.
Battling back, Kapaa knotted the contest, 24-24 on a Talia Washington hammer, but could only gain a 25-24 advantage behind a Hunt block on the opposite side.
Kepler Niccore entered the hitting arena to knot the contest 25-25, but the Warriors answered with a tandem block by Cory Anela Kilar and Hunt with a Menehune passing error sending the contest to Kapaa, 27-25.
“The girls have been working really hard, and slowly getting better,” Logan said. “I like their never-give-up attitude and how they fight for every point until the last whistle.”
The Menehune forced the fifth set by building an early lead on hits by Isabella Bateman and Samio, and nursing it home on a Kapaa passing error.
Bateman set the stage for the fifth set with a block to counter Kapaa’s first point, followed by hits from Samio and Nicorre and a Kapaa hitting error for a 4-1 bulge. The Warriors countered with hits by Talia Washington and Chelsea Schneider, but the Menehune’s consistent pressure kept the ball on the Menehune court until Bateman and Samio sealed the deal.
“This was a great match with good play from players on both sides and the game going back and forth,” Logan said. “We still need to grow, clean up some of our errors.”
The next set of girls volleyball matches serve up Wednesday with the JV games getting underway from 5 p.m. followed by the varsity matches.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.