Red Raiders bounce back to sweep Roosevelt
Kahuku's Mary Fonoimoana fires a kill past Roosevelt's Amber Thi Nguyen-Cheng in the second set of an OIA East contest Wednesday night. Greg Yamamoto | SL
MAKIKI — Visiting Kahuku got back into the win column with a 25-20, 25-18 win over Roosevelt in an Oahu Interscholastic Association East contest Wednesday night.
The tenth-ranked Red Raiders, who were coming off a three-set loss to Moanalua just two days prior, improved to 5-1 to keep pace among the division leaders.
First-year Kahuku coach Michelle Tevaga said the victory over the Rough Riders gave her girls something to get the Moanalua loss "out of their system" as they continue to improve throughout the season.
"I know it's a feeling that they did not like, especially since it was so close, but it was nice for them to get this win to pick them up heading into next week and the rest of the season," Tevaga added.
Mary Fonoimoana led the Kahuku attack with seven kills on nine swings for a .777 hitting percentage. Keau Kamakeeaina had five kills with 11 assists and Penina Matau chipped in four more kills to round out the Red Raiders' leading hitters. Kahuku's top three attackers also had no errors as they combined to hit .593 for the match.
With their top weapons hitting at an effective rate, the Red Raiders were able to build depth in the front row as five other players added kills. Kahuku's total hitting numbers weren't pretty as a whole — .245 on the night and 11 hitting errors on 55 total swings — but it proved to be an invaluable experience for a young Kahuku team.
"We're trying to get a leveled offense with whoever is in the front line," said Tevega. "We need that as we get throughout the season. I don't want to be a one-trick pony. I want to be able to bring a triple-threat every single time."
Savannah Taosaoga added three kills and Maresa Maiava and Makayla Fonoimoana-Vaomu each had two kills. Kalamela Liua and Siela Avea also had a kill and Taylor Magalei recorded 10 assists in the Red Raiders' 6-2 offense.
The Rough Riders (5-2) attempted 10 more swings than Kahuku but committed a number of errors that put them at a disadvantage. Roosevelt had 20 kills in the contest but gave up that same amount of points in hitting errors, 11 of which came in the first set.
But for as much as the Rough Riders shot themselves in the foot, they made up for it with their effort on the court.
Kahuku led by as many as 10 points in the first set, 22-12, but Roosevelt was able to get some momentum after a free ball kill and a pair of service aces by Amber Thi Nguyen-Cheng to jump-start a 7-1 run to make it a 23-19 contest.
Kahuku freshman Makayla Fonoimoana-Vaomu (2) and Kahuku sophomore Mary Fonoimoana (13) await a Roosevelt serve in the second set.
The Red Raiders ended up winning game one, but Roosevelt's energy continued into the second set with both teams trading points and tying each other until the score was 9-9.
The Rough Riders momentarily took a 11-9 lead after a ball-handling error, but Kahuku came right back with four straight points to force a timeout. Although Roosevelt was able to rally to tie it at 16, a series of errors gave the Red Red Raiders the necessary cushion needed to pull away to win the match.
"A team like Roosevelt, they're not going to play dead," said Tevaga. "They're going to come back tenfold every single play which they did. That just means we have to show up because the teams like Roosevelt, they're going to show up. I'm glad that it finally kicked in during the second set before it was too late. Roosevelt always gives it to us defensively and it was a fun game."
Vanessa Colling was a bright spot for the Rough Riders as she finished with a match-high 12 kills.