Menehune take KIF volleyball crown

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Waimea’s Kaimalie Alquiza hits against the defense of Gianna Lewis and Keira Caoagas in the third set, Tuesday during the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball games at the Kaua‘i High School gym.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Waimea’s Safina Sandblom takes the short set from Braeanna Moises and hits against the defense of Kaua‘i’s Mikayla Alonzo in the second set, Tuesday during the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball games at the Kaua‘i High School gym.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Waimea’s Safina Sandblom backs the play action from the middle as Kaimalie Alquiza hits against the tandem defense of Kaua‘i’s Keira Caoagas and Gianna Lewis in the first set, Tuesday during the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball games at the kaua‘i High School gym.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Waimea’s Kaimalie Alquiza gets a piece of the hit by Kaua‘i’s Gianna Lewis in the first set, Tuesday during the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball games at the Kaua‘i High School gym.

LIHU‘E — Waimea High School came back from an opening set loss to claim the following three sets against Kaua‘i High School to claim the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball crown Tuesday night at the Kaua‘i High School gym.

Earlier in the evening, the Junior Varsity Waimea girls claimed a three-set win over the JV Red Raiders, 25-20, 25-21, and 26-24, the final set stoking the audience of several hundred for the varsity showdown.

Kaua‘i jumped to an early 10-6 lead behind Menehune miscues and the hitting by Elise Yukimura and Nahe Bukoski.

Waimea answered to knot the set, 10-10 on a Kaimalie Alquiza bang. But without taking the lead at any point, Kaua‘i put the contest to bed, 25-18 behind a string of serves from Bukoski that included an ace and hits from Yukimura and Keira Caoagas nailing the set.

“We got a win,” said Kevin Cadiente, the Kaua‘i High School trainer. “This is big. I don’t think we’ve ever gotten a set over Waimea.”

The moral victory was short-lived as Waimea came back to turn the tables in Set 2, 25-12, and following a tooth-and-nail, long volley Set 3, walked off the court following a Halia Moriguchi slam, 25-23. The final set, another tooth-and-nail long volley affair, ended with a Kaua‘i error shining the crown atop the Menehune, 25-16.

“What an emotional roller coaster,” said Waimea coach Brandi Hori Moises. “This goes to show the resilience of this team. We were never chosen, but it was the determination and drive of the girls that gave us the outcome. Kaua‘i had their best game ever, tonight. I loved it. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”

The performances from five Menehune — Malu Alquiza Kenney, Kaiea Hui Hui-Caberto, Kaimalie Alquiza, Halia Moriguchi, and Braeanna Moises — contributed to the comeback win that saw the younger players like Canyon Niccore and Safina Sandblom get touches under the wing of the 12th graders.

“These senior girls have been playing together from before they became Menehune,” Hori Moises said. “They’re like sisters on the court.”

With the win, Waimea prepares for its Senior Night, Friday when the Menehune host the Island School Voyagers at the Clem Gomes Gym. Kaua‘i will travel to the Bernice Hundley Gym for the Kapa‘a Senior Night. The JV contests at both sites serve up at 5 p.m. followed by the varsity contest 25 minutes following the completion of the JV game.

No scores from the Kapa‘a at Island School were available at press time.

Scoreboard

Junior Varsity

• Waimea/Kaua‘i: 25-20, 25-21, 26-24

Varsity

• Waimea/Kaua‘i: 18-25, 25-12, 25-23, 25-16

•••

Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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