PUKALANI - For Kamehameha Schools Maui girls volleyball coach Bala Spencer, 50 is the golden number.
His team has amassed a 47-win streak in regular season Maui Interscholastic League play, having gone undefeated since October 13, 2007.
The Warriors, 6-0 this season, could reach the half-century mark on Tuesday against Lahainaluna, but must first face King Kekaulike today and Baldwin on Saturday.
Bobbi Kalama (left) and Leimana Kane have helped Kamehameha Schools Maui to a 6-0 record this year, extending the Warriors’ Maui Interscholastic League winning streak to 47 matches.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
"My wife and a lot of administrators here on campus think I'm a geek," he said. "I'm a math teacher, so I look at numbers, I look at percentages, and I'll use whatever means necessary to push our girls, and that's just one of them.
"All streaks come to an end, but we don't want it to be this year."
The Warriors have won seven straight league titles and produced multiple All-Star and college players, including two graduates from last year's class - Ginger Long, now redshirting at the University of Hawaii, and Kaulana Ane, who plays for New Haven University.
Seabury Hall def St. Anthony 25-9, 25-9, 23-25, 25-12
Baldwin vs. Molokai at Maui High (practice match), 4 p.m.
Kamehameha Maui at King Kekaulike, 6 p.m.
Maui High at Lahainaluna, 6 p.m.
St. Anthony vs. Lanai at Paia, 6 p.m.
Molokai at Seabury Hall, 6 p.m.
Baldwin at Kamehameha Maui, noon
Maui Prep vs. Molokai at Lahaina, noon
Lanai at Hana, noon
"We kind of rode on the coattails of (Long and Ane), and it was hard the entire year," Spencer said. "Those two outstanding seniors were on fire the whole time, and when you go to states if they're not on fire we need everybody else to help out. And it was kind of a shock when those two weren't having their best matches, it was like 'Oh my gosh, now what do we do?' "
This year's squad is blazing its own trail, on its own terms.
The current Warriors are composed of mostly juniors and sophomores. The lone senior, Uluwehi Young, is part of the varsity ranks for the first time this season.
"We can't rely on one person anymore," said junior Bobbi Kalama. "We're all equal and we're so much closer this year and we connect more on the court. If one person is down we can pick them up, but last year if one of the main girls were down, then it was like our game was done and we couldn't really pick ourselves back up."
Spencer recognized Kalama as one of the group's leaders, but stopped short of naming an official team captain.
"I haven't given them a captain assignment yet because at any given moment, with any given drill there's usually two or three girls who aren't necessarily the vocal leaders, but they come out and become the leader. I think all of them at one point or another have been a captain for us," he said.
Spencer has been coaching volleyball for the past 19 years, with stints at Kapolei, Moanalua and Kamehameha Kapalama. He is in his fifth season with Kamehameha Maui, and this year is trying something a little different - for the first time, he asked the players to come up with a list of goals for the season.
"We do have concrete goals and they're good goals," Spencer said. "All the girls keep each other accountable and keep reminding each other of what those goals are."
Those goals also show that the players have something beyond wins and losses in mind.
"Winning the state title is not one of those goals. And for me, for my ego, I'm still dealing with that because everything we're trying to do is trying to be the best in the state," Spencer said.
"This year's philosophy is that we want to represent not only our school, but Maui County the best way we can. The girls have helped me realize that's more important than being the number-one team. I think if we can achieve that then we'll believe that, 'Hey, we're a pretty good team.' "
* Lehia Apana is at firstname.lastname@example.org