Red Raiders on a roll


POSTED: Friday, September 18, 2009

The Big Red machine is humming on all cylinders.

Amanda Tonga pounded eight kills and Ho'onani Apo had seven to lead a balanced attack as No. 3 Kahuku swept Roosevelt 25-14, 25-20 and spoiled the Rough Riders' senior night.

A crowd of about 300 watched on a sweltering, muggy night at Roosevelt's gym. Kahuku has won seven Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East matches in a row since losing the league opener at Moanalua. Roosevelt dropped to 3-5, but still has its sights on a playoff berth.

The Red Raiders got six kills from Elizabeth Blake and four from Natallia Cravens, as junior setter Teuila Nautu distributed the ball crisply all night. Nautu finished with 19 assists in a full-time role. In earlier matches, she split time at setter with Blake.

Coach Uila Fotu Vendiola was pleased.

“;We didn't have a good practice (on Wednesday). We just seemed tired,”; she said. “;But after that we talked about what we need to do against Roosevelt. We always expect good defense from them.”;

Taylor Pupuhi led Roosevelt with eight kills. Kawai Oleole (four kills) and Zoe Young (three) chipped in as the Rough Riders showed more attacks and weaponry than they offered early in the season. Setter Samantha Sakata, one of five seniors on the squad, had a team-high 14 assists, and classmate Janelle Lubong added six.

Pupuhi, Oleole and Young are juniors. It was the first meeting between the teams this season.

“;We've kind of put it together,”; Roosevelt coach Rudy Sambrano said. “;The kids hustle like hell. That's the best they can do and they did a helluva job. Kahuku has quite a few returnees and the size difference can really make a difference.”;

Kahuku used a 14-4 run to break open a close battle in the opening set. Three kills by Apo and an ace by Tara Domingo sparked the visitors to an 18-9 lead.

In the second game, Roosevelt rallied from a 13-9 deficit and got within 15-14 on a roof by senior middle blocker Natasha Kolo. Kahuku answered with a 5-1 run, getting kills from Maria Tonga, Blake and Apo for a 20-15 lead.

The Rough Riders pulled within 21-18 on a kill by Young, but got no closer the rest of the way.

“;When we were down, we didn't panic. We played our game,”; Fotu Vendiola said. “;It's always a long ride in (from Kahuku), but it's all mental.”;

Kahuku hit .426 (five hitting errors). Roosevelt hit .214 (11 errors).

The visitors had two aces and four service errors. The Red Raiders had no aces and one service error.