PUHI — Following nearly three hours of grueling momentum shifts, the Waimea High School boys varsity volleyball team emerged as Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation champions on Tuesday night.
Battling through five sets, the Menehune were 3-2 winners — 21-25, 27-25, 25-21, 24-26 and 15-10 — before an overflow audience at Wilcox Gymnasium on the Island School campus that was soaked due to rain from a passing low pressure system.
Waimea coach Tori Kagawa and tower official Darrick Peleras, also the Voyagers girls volleyball coach, agreed the Menehune win was the team’s first since 2012 when the Menehune were coached by Tony Magaoay, who was coaching the Voyagers on Tuesday night.
The Voyagers made key milestones of getting on the board first in four of the five sets, and getting to the 20-point mark first in all four sets leading to the fifth set. But the scrappy Menehune responded to the challenges until the fifth set, when they came back from the Voyagers’ first point to lead the set for the win before a thunderous west side crowd.
Waimea, earning the KIF second round title, rolled behind the hitting of Haweo Akeo and Kelani Lewis, with strong support from David “Kaio” Tsuchiya, whose mother, according to Kagawa, was celebrating her birthday on Tuesday.
Josiah “Jojo” Banasihan handled the setting chores, and Shayden Ranis-Alameda Dela Cruz triggered strong applause when he announced his entry into the game with a big bang from the left side.
The Voyagers missed the services of its setter, who was injured, and the rotation of Bodhi Jones hurt them, as the gap was quickly capitalized early on by the Menehune. Kash Lanini, Rocco Sand, Mark Fitzgerald, Michael Fitzgerald and Kaelen Suzuki-Kaohi put in strong efforts for the Voyagers.
The KIF victory advances Waimea to the 2023 New City Nissan Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Division II Boys Volleyball Championships on May 11-13 on O‘ahu.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island
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