PUKALANI - Bobbi-Lin Kalama has seen plenty of talent come and go for the Kamehameha Schools Maui girls volleyball team.
Even as the Warriors' personnel changes, however, they hardly skip a beat.
Behind Kalama, the reigning Maui Interscholastic League Division I Player of the Year, Kamehameha won for the 62nd time in its last 63 league matches with a 25-18, 25-15, 25-16 sweep of King Kekaulike on Thursday night at Kaulaheanuiokamoku Gym.
Anuhea Kaiaokamalie of Kamehameha Schools Maui attempts a kill as King Kekaulike’s Taylor Fernandez defends during the second set of the Warriors’ 25-18, 25-15, 25-16 victory over Na Alii on Thursday at Kaulaheanuiokamoku Gym.
The Maui News / MATTHEW?THAYER photo
King Kekaulike’s Zoe Del Conte-Napolitano attempts a shot against Kamehameha Schools Maui’s Leimana Kane (right) and Bobbi-Lin Kalama in the second set.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
The victory clinched the regular-season title and a state-tournament berth for the Warriors (9-0), who can secure a ninth straight MIL D-I crown at the league tournament in two weeks. Na Alii (6-4) remained in second place.
Last year, a relatively young Kamehameha team - in its first season after the departure of Ginger Long and Kaulana Ane for NCAA Division I competition - advanced to the state semifinals. Now, the Warriors have eight seniors ready to make one last statement.
"Knowing that eight of us are leaving we have to leave our mark on the young ones behind us," Kalama said after dishing out 15 assists and smacking four aces.
|King Kekaulike||6||4||.600||3 1/2|
|Maui High||5||5||.500||4 1/2|
|St. Anthony||5||3||.625||1 1/2|
x-clinched regular-season championship
Kamehameha Maui def. King Kekaulike 25-18, 25-15, 25-16
Maui High def. Lahainaluna 25-14, 20-25, 25-14, 25-20
Hana at Lanai, 7 p.m.
Seabury Hall at Molokai, 7 p.m.
Kamehameha Maui at Baldwin, noon
The Warriors wore pink uniforms on "Dig Pink" night in support of breast cancer awareness month.
"It is fun dressing up and, like, seeing the crowd all in pink," said Kalama, who has her sights on Siena College to continue her career. "It is fun and exciting."
Sienna Davis had nine kills for the Warriors, who have lost one set in MIL play this year. Leimana Kane added six kills and Anuhea Kaiaokamalie had five. All are seniors.
The state tournament is scheduled for Oct. 30-Nov. 2 on Oahu.
"I knew tonight would clinch a state berth, but I didn't tell the girls that," said Kamehameha coach Bala Spencer.
"I still don't think they even know they clinched. I tried to get them focused on what we have to do, get girls in stressful situations because we might need them at states. Just trying to get everybody ready."
Taylor Fernandez led Na Alii with seven kills and three digs. Kalia Aguera had four digs, while Zoe Del Conte-Napolitano and Hiilei Mahuka-Kihewa each had three kills.
"Kamehameha is tough, but we were a little off tonight," said King Kekaulike coach Kapeka Vares. "I think everybody just wanted to celebrate the cause more than it was about winning or losing. I appreciate that from our team. We just have to focus on the next game."
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org