LIHUE — Following a win in straight sets Saturday night at the Kauai High School gym, the Waimea High School girls volleyball closed the first round of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball season with an undefeated 6-0 record.
The Menehune, coming off an intense, five-set win over Island School Wednesday to clinch the first-round crown, came to Raiderland to assert that title.
“It’s time to regroup, recompose and readjust,” said Waimea coach Brandi Hori-Moises following its straight-set victory, 25-23, 25-11 and 25-17 over Kauai High, which claimed its first season win in five sets Wednesday over Kapaa.
Earlier in the evening, the Kauai High School junior varsity squad posted a 2-1 win over the Menehune JV, 25-23, 25-16 and 24-26. Over at the Bernice Hundley Gymnasium on the Kapaa High campus, the Lady Warrior JV also posted a 2-1 win over the Voyager JV, 14-25, 25-20 and 25-13.
Island School’s varsity girls, traveling to Kapaa, leave the first round in second place, with a 4-2 record, after beating Kapaa in straight sets, 25-19, 25-20 and 25-21.
Back in Lihue, the varsity squads of Waimea and Kauai High battled point for point through the first set, with Waimea closing the door by going to Raelee Samio, who pounded a winner for the 25-23 decision.
“The Lady Raiders care for each other more,” said Kauai coach Kehau Regidor. “We had a team bonding during the Kauai homecoming week, and there was more of the team showing before we got to Kapaa. This was good for us because, in the win against Kapaa, we played everybody — every player got some touches. That’s hard to do because we have such a big team.”
Samio exercised her versatility of whacking from the back row, sharing that skill with fellow Menehune Tehani Togioka, who took the driver’s seat in the first set.
During the second set, Samio served up a string of 10 unanswered points after Waimea pulled away from a 6-5 nod. During her tenure in the service block, Samio served up an ace to go along with hits from Kepler Nicorre in the middle and Kalea Huihui-Caberto, and a number of Raider passing errors, to build a 17-5 lead.
Kauai came back in the third set, building a 3-1 lead behind a pair of blocks from Kelsey Ortiz before the Menehune answered with Kierstin Gummerus taking the service block for five unanswered points, including a pair of Samio slams, after the Raiders were assessed a technical violation.
Nahe Bukoski regained the side for Kauai, but the Raider defense had no answers for whacks from Samio and Huihui-Caberto, which pulled Waimea to a 10-6 advantage.
Menehune libero Naomi “Maya” Naka‘ahiki served up an ace in her string of three points, and the Menehune were up 15-7 before Waileia Edwards regained the side for Kauai with a block.
Gummerus took control in the service block for more points before Samio brought the Menehune to the edge, 24-14. She let Huihui-Caberto close the door following a string of Raider points, fueled by hits from Hayley Kaeo and Kili Estrella, and a Menehune technical error.
“The service errors did us in tonight,” Regidor said. “But I’m proud of how the girls played more as a team. There is still a lot more volleyball to play.”
The next KIF girls volleyball matches will contest on Wednesday, Sept. 25, when Kapaa travels to the Clem Gomes Gym against Waimea, and the Voyagers travel to the Kauai High School gym. The first serve in the junior varsity contests go off at 5 p.m., with varsity matches to follow.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.