PUKALANI - For the Kamehameha Schools Maui girls volleyball team, this week is about making history.
With a virtual stranglehold on the Maui Interscholastic League Division I regular-season title - and the state-tournament berth that goes with it - Kamehameha is one win away from tying the league record for consecutive victories after recording No. 49 in a row on Saturday.
The Warriors are two games up on Baldwin with four to play and have the head-to-head tiebreaker after a methodical 25-15, 25-22, 28-26 sweep of the Bears in front of about 500 fans in a steamy Kaulaheanuiokamoku Gym.
Kamehameha Schools Maui’s Sheylin Patao (10) and Raven Poepoe go up for a block during the first game of the Warriors’ 25-15, 25-22, 28-26 sweep of Baldwin on Saturday at Kaulaheanuiokamoku Gym.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Kamehameha Maui’s Bobbi-Lin Kalama sets a ball for Raven Poepoe during the first set Saturday.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
The league record for consecutive volleyball wins was set by Maui High from 1989 to 1993 when the MIL played at a single level - the Warriors have been beaten three times during the streak by
Division II Molokai in exhibition and preseason tournament play. The MIL has played division-only matches for the last three seasons.
Perhaps fittingly, it will be Maui High at Kamehameha on Thursday when the record-breaker could come, if the Warriors (8-0) take care of business at winless Lahainaluna on Tuesday.
The Sabers' record was an MIL-all-sport best until it was passed by the Lahainaluna girls basketball team last season.
The Warriors haven't lost an official MIL match since October 2007.
"We really want to strive to meet that goal and beat it and keep going for next year and continuing it on," said Kamehameha junior setter Bobbi Kalama.
Since saying goodbye to current college players Ginger Long and Kaulana Ane after last season, the Warriors have found remarkable balance.
Sienna Davis had 12 kills and three aces for the Warriors on Saturday, Anueha Kaiaokamalie had nine kills, Sheylin Patao had eight kills and two blocks, Leimana Kane had six kills and two blocks, Kalama passed out 39 assists, Taylor Awai had 18 digs and Shalia Kamakaokalani chipped in 13. All of them will be back next season - this year's team has just one senior.
Kamehameha jumped out quickly, and a kill by Kaiaokamalie ended the first set.
The Bears (6-2) came out blazing in the second set, taking an 8-2 lead when freshman Gabby Cordoba had five aces in a six-point span, but the Warriors roared back, and went in front 11-9 on an ace by Kamakaokalani. Kamehameha stretched the lead to 18-14 on a block by Patao, but Baldwin tied the score at 20-20 on a kill by Kalei Vaivai before the Warriors took the set on a kill by Kaiaokamalie.
Vaivai had nine kills and eight digs, Taylor Badois had nine kills and three blocks, Olivia Wallace had three kills and five digs, Cordoba had eight digs and five aces, Ariana Newton had 10 assists and Mele Enomoto had nine.
The third set was a thriller.
Kamehameha took a 6-2 lead, then the Bears scratched back within 10-9 before the Warriors stretched the advantage back to 20-15 on a Raven Poepoe kill. Baldwin fought off three match points, and had two set points of its own, at 25-24 after back-to-back blocks by Mataele, and again at 26-25 after a Vaivai kill. A service error by the Bears, a kill by Kaiaokamalie and a kill by Patao ended the excitement.
"They are starting to step out of the shadows a little bit, out of their shells and really perform," Warriors coach Bala Spencer said of his team. "They are getting after each other during practice, getting after each other during conditioning, and it is showing. They know one person can't do it alone.
"I think the streak gives them some confidence, but I know they don't want to disappoint the alumni girls who helped start the streak."
Baldwin coach Kauila Houpo gave Kamehameha credit, but was not happy with the officiating in the match.
"Kamehameha is a tough team, but I don't think they need help from the referees, that's what I say," Houpo said. "They don't need any help. We get close and the girls work so hard. Maybe it is because they want the streak to keep going, I don't know. That's not right."
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kamehameha Maui def. Baldwin 25-15, 25-22, 28-26
Molokai def. Maui Prep 25-13, 25-11, 25-20
Hana def. Lanai 22-25, 25-16, 25-20, 21-25, 15-5
King Kekaulike at Baldwin, 6 p.m.
Kamehameha Maui at Lahainaluna, 6 p.m.
Lahainaluna at King Kekaulike, 6 p.m.
Maui High at Kamehameha Maui, 6 p.m.
Hana at Molokai, 7 p.m
Seabury Hall at Lanai, 7 p.m.