Tuli Tevaga appreciates every win.
The former Kahuku standout is also grateful for a loss, especially the one against Moanalua to open the OIA East regular season. Since then, the Lady Raiders have won two in a row, including a 25-15, 25-17, 25-21 sweep of Roosevelt on Thursday night.
At some point, No. 7-ranked Kahuku and No. 4 Moanalua will probably meet again.
“It was amazing. It was a really good match. I’m glad we had them at the beginning,” Tevaga said. “It was an up-and-up match the entire time. It just came down to who made the least amount of mistakes. That’s something we can work with.”
Roosevelt didn’t play anything like a winless team, putting up a stiff challenge in games two and three. Kahuku’s balance and depth were constant, even after dynamic middle Mele Taumoepeau (six kills, two blocks) went down with an ankle injury in the third set.
“Any time anyone goes down with an injury, it’s always next one up. We’re going to allow Mele to heal until she can come back,” Tevaga said. “Of course, we’ll miss her and when she’s ready, she’ll be able to practice.”
Kahuku was resilient with a strong performance by outside hitter Makayla Fonoimoana (nine kills, three aces), Emmalei Mapu (eight kills) and three momentous blocks in the second set by Mala Esera, who also had a kill and an ace.
“She does put up a good block. She does cover a lot of space. She’s young, she’s a sophomore. She’s still growing,” Tevaga said. “She’s tall, she jumps well. It’s nice to have her for two more years.”
Setters Isabella Akanoa (18 assists, one ace) and Shace Niu (12 assists, ace) made use of their weapons from left to right.
“We have a good squad this year. We have some great leaders. We have Makayla and Emmalei, our senior leaders,” Tevaga said. “They’re great leaders on and off the court. They help the team when they’re down, being everything that we want in a leader. It’s going to be a good year.”
Of the 100 online tickets sold for the game, 52 were purchased by Kahuku fans, according to Roosevelt athletic director John Chung.
“That was nice for the girls to have some cheering, too, especially coming from home,” Tevaga said. “We travel well. The girls have great support and it’s even more because we haven’t played in awhile. The parents are always going to support when they can.”
Tevaga was an all-state performer during her years at Kahuku, when she was known as Tuli Peters. The outpouring of enthusiasm on the North Shore is something she has always relished.
“Thank you for your continued support. The girls love it. We need it and just bring it all season long,” Tevaga said.
Kahuku hosts Kalani on Tuesday and travels to McKinley on Thursday.
Tickets are available on ticketsplicket.com.