LIHUE — The Waimea Menehune pushed their winning streak to five games Tuesday night, defeating the Red Raiders of Kauai High in three sets 25-18, 25-20, 25-20 at Kauai High School Gym.
Since suffering their second loss of the season against Kauai back on Sept. 20, the Menehune have re-established themselves over the course of their last five games. Waimea has played 16 sets against their opponents, dropping just one of those sets in the process.
After being swept by the Menehune last week, head coach of the Kapaa Warriors, Evan Costa, said he believed that Waimea was peaking.
Waimea head coach, Chad Delanoza, acknowledged that his girls are playing better but believes they still have work to do to hit that peak.
“I think we’ve got a lot more to go,” said Delanoza. “Sometimes we got those mental errors with hitting the balls in the net, those things we want to improve on. But the play of the group is just at a different level now, maintaining this — that’s our biggest challenge.”
In Tuesday’s opening set of the game, the Red Raiders looked as if they would push Waimea to the brink.
With the Menehune leading 4-3, the Red Raiders went on the offense.
Behind four aces from Adrienne Graycochea, a kill and block from Jondee Rivera, a kill from Amanda Cadavona and another ace from Teyanni Esaki, the Red Raiders jumped out to a 11-5 advantage.
But Waimea settled down on the following play, receiving a kill from Lei Alejandro to narrow the Kauai gap to five.
With help from two Red Raider hitting errors and three combined kills from Mariyah Oliver and Shania Kahepuu, the Menehune tied things up at 11 a piece.
Kauai and Waimea traded points in the set’s following nine possessions, but the Menehune eventually created some distance.
Leading 16-15, the Menehune scored five straight points to earn a six-point advantage.
Kauai called a timeout, but the damage was already done.
Waimea’s Talia Young capped set one with a kill to secure a 25-18 opening set victory for the Menehune.
In the second set of the game, the Menehune started early and watched the Red Raiders comeback.
Down 12-8, Kauai scored on five of the game’s next six plays to tie things up at 13-13.
Sitting tied at 16 all, the Menehune used two kills from Oliver and a botched hit from the Red Raiders to grab a three-point lead.
Kauai narrowed the deficit twice to two-points at 17-19 and 18-20, but couldn’t catch Waimea.
The Menehune captured set two 25-20 with help from Young again, this time recording a block.
The third and deciding set was a hard fought battle between both teams.
The Menehune scored first after Kawena Warren slammed down a kill from the middle.
From there, the Red Raiders and Menehune duked it out as the third set saw 12 ties and eight lead changes.
Waimea took the lead for good at 19-18 on a kill from Alejandro.
Oliver put down the game’s final point to push her set-three total to eight kills. Teammate Warren added five kills of her own in the set to help aid the Menehune in their 25-22 set-three victory.
With four of his girls recording five kills or more in Tuesday’s match, Delanoza talked about what having a surplus of weapons and a solid middle like Warren does.
“Having Kawena in the middle, the catalyst of everything, she give us all these things that we can do,” he said. “Whether it’s inside or outside, what she does for us is open up the outside for Mariyah and for Lei.”
Delanoza also praised the setting of Bailey San Agustin-Nordmeier and how she has been able to feed his hitters the ball.
Red Raider head coach, Merrill Carvalho, didn’t think his team had that fire on Tuesday night.
“We just played flat tonight,” said Carvalho. “We had no energy, no enthusiasm, nothing. When we tried to get it back in the third set it was just a little too late. Waimea just came out in full force and we couldn’t match their intensity.”
Carvalho said he is hoping to get his team back to the basics and plans to re-instill the discipline that his girl’s didn’t have against Waimea.
Oliver, of the Menehune, was the leading attacker Tuesday night with 17 kills.
Waimea’s Warren finished with 11 kills while teammates Alejandro and Young added nine and five kills respectively.
Warren and Alejandro recorded two aces each to lead the Menehune.
Leading the way for the Red Raiders was Graycochea with eight kills followed by teammates Kamalani Hopkins with four and Kawehi Harris with three.
Graycochea totaled five aces on the game while fellow Red Raider Esaki finished with three.
Waimea improves to 9-2 on the season while the Red Raiders go to 6-4.
• In JV action Tuesday night, the Red Raiders secured the win over the Menehune 17-25, 25-16, 25-16.
At Kapaa High School, the Kapaa Warriors junior varsity and varsity swept the Island School Voyagers.
In JV action, the Warriors beat the Voyagers 25-6, 25-8, 25-7 while the varsity won 25-20, 25-6, 25-10.
The Warriors are 5-5 on the season while the Voyagers are now 0-9.
KIF volleyball returns Friday when the Kapaa Warriors host the Waimea Menehune and the Kauai High Red Raiders visit the Voyagers at Island School. Both matches begin with JV at 5:30 p.m. with the varsity to follow no earlier than 6:30 p.m.
• Tyson Agbayani, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.