PUKALANI - Leimana Kane didn't know the exact number, but she smiled when she found out.
On a junior-laden Kamehameha Schools Maui girls volleyball team, Kane led the way to a methodical 25-15, 25-17, 25-13 sweep of King Kekaulike on Thursday night.
The Maui Interscholastic League victory in front of about 200 fans at King Kekaulike Gym was the 48th in a row for the Warriors, two short of the league volleyball mark set by Maui High from 1989 to 1993.
Kane had nine kills and four digs - the latter number made her night.
"The digs, for sure, because I don't usually get to play back row," the middle blocker said. "Our junior class has stepped up because I think we always knew eventually we'd have to step up to our own role and we'd all have to, like, push together."
Several other juniors shone on this night - Sienna Davis had 10 kills, Bobbi Kalama had 38 assists and four digs, Raven Poepoe had six kills and Anuhea Kaiaokamalie had five kills. Sophomore libero Taylor Awai had 23 digs.
Kamehameha Maui def. King Kekaulike 25-15, 25-17, 25-13
Maui High def. Lahainaluna, four sets, no scores available
St. Anthony vs. Lanai at Paia Gym, 6 p.m.
Molokai at Seabury Hall, 6 p.m.
Baldwin at Kamehameha Maui, noon
Maui Prep vs. Molokai at Lahaina Civic Center, noon
Lanai at Hana, noon
The Warriors (7-0) will seek their 49th straight win Saturday in a huge match against Baldwin (6-1), then can tie the record Tuesday at Lahainaluna and break it on Thursday when they host Maui High.
Kane found out the win streak was at 47 by reading about it Thursday morning and learned the record is 50 in a postmatch interview.
"We were all like, 'Oh my gosh, we are so close to 50,' " she said. "I think now we are being more determined to push in those last two games, especially with the game coming up against Baldwin. I had no idea the record was 50. I knew it was high, but I didn't know it was that high."
The Warriors came out a little sluggish in a close first set, but turned an 8-6 lead into a 15-9 advantage on a kill by Poepoe. A quick dink by Kalama ended the set.
The second set was tied five times, the last at 7-7. The Kamehameha lead was just 13-12 before two kills by Davis, wrapped around one by Poepoe, started a seven-point run. The team's lone senior, Uluwehi Young, ended the second set.
The Warriors rolled out to a 7-0 lead in the final set, behind three of Kalama's four aces on the night, and Na Alii (4-4) did not threaten.
"We played OK," Kamehameha coach Bala Spencer said. "We had some unforced errors on our part. It is finals week - we ended the quarter today - so we didn't practice as much as we usually do."
Spencer is fully versed on the league record - former Maui High coach Donald Kealoha, who guided the Sabers to the current mark, coached Spencer's niece in club volleyball. Spencer also knows former Maui High standout Sheryl Paschoal, the setter for most of that run when she was Sheryl Hoopii.
Molokai is the last team to beat Kamehameha in a league match, in October 2007. The Farmers, a state Division II power, also have victories over the Warriors in preseason and scrimmage matches during the streak.
"I know that I say that to the girls and they kind of brush it off because I think sometimes it adds a little more pressure," Spencer said. "But it is a significant thing. We have had some great teams come through Kamehameha and to do that is a big deal to me. I know I am looking forward to trying to go for it.
"We took care of business tonight and we have got to take care of business on Saturday at our home gym against Baldwin, but for me it is a big deal. We are not an old school, we are still a new school and we are doing it with girls who are athletes and not just all volleyball players."
Na Alii were without standout middle blocker Kylie Hoopii on Thursday due to a knee injury. King Kekaulike was led by Taylor Fernandez's five kills and seven assists, Pohai Kaikala's three blocks and four assists, Pua Borden's six kills and nine assists, Lauren Egger's 18 assists and Hiilei Mahuka-Kihewa's five kills and 15 assists.
"Kamehameha was definitely on their game, they were ready to play and unfortunately for us the passes were really bad," said Na Alii coach Kapeka Vares. "We were kind of killing our setter out there and we just weren't communicating."
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org