Varsity girls volleyball digs pink, bound for state tourney

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Photo by Landon Ballesteros

Senior Sheylin Patao pushes the ball toward King Kekaulike on Thursday, October 11, at KSM's Kaʻulaheanuiokamoku gym. The varsity volleyball girls won 3-0, and raised awareness of breast cancer in their annual Dig Pink match.

Ka Leo o Na Koa

By Landon Ballesteros, news writer

The Kamehameha Schools Maui varsity volleyball team won all three sets and solidified a repeat state appearance in their annual Dig Pink match against King Kekaulike High School on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 at KSM’s Kaʻulaheanuiokamoku Gym.

Every year, one senior puts on the Dig Pink match as a Hōʻike Nui senior project. This year, senior Bobbi-Lin Kalama took up the task and delivered with flying colors.

The Dig Pink match is a project aimed at spreading awareness about breast cancer. The Warriors in their pink uniforms, Nā Aliʻi decked in pink socks, and the sea of pink in the crowded KSM stands brought the point home.

Excitement ran high early Wednesday morning when people walked up to their lockers after first block to find little Dig Pink advertisements and posters plastered around the campus. Once Thursday rolled in, the Dig Pink match was the buzz of excited conversation among students.

“[Bobbi] pretty much has everything together for tonight. I’m very excited,” senior Hope Ostermiller said.

Kalama chose the Dig Pink game as part of her senior project because she wanted to continue the team tradition. She was particularly looking forward to seeing the outcome of the game, which would cement the team’s first-place standing in the Maui Interscholastic League, and to finally being done with the product portion of her senior project.

“I feel that this year is going to be the best Dig Pink ever because we have special guests coming,” senior Kailee Tabaco said earlier today.

Those special guests included senior Kahiau Andrade’s mother, who came in to talk about breast cancer, and sophomore Shai Ibarra, who brought along her taiko-drumming friends from Maui’s Zenshin Daiko group.

The Warriors quickly opened up the first set with a steady lead over Nā Aliʻi, eventually finishing with a 25-18 victory.

The second set also went by quickly. The score was up 22-14 in favor of the Warriors, when a kill by Kalama put them up 23-14. KKHS secured one more point for their team before a kill by senior Sienna Davis, putting the score at 25-15.

Warrior fans were worried at the start of the third set. Nā Aliʻi gained a 4-3 lead early on before Davis brought the score back up to a tie. Both teams, first and second place in the MIL, battled fiercely, never being more than three points away from each other until Kalama secured three aces against KKHS, bumping up the score to a 13-7 lead in favor of the Warriors. A kill by Davis and an ace by Kalama began the Warriors’ score ascension, eventually gaining a comfortable lead at 17-10.

Fans and players could sense the end was near. With every point scored, the spectators cheered louder and louder. Every close dig and powerful kill had the audience either wincing in eager anticipation or screaming (and perhaps jumping) with excitement.

KSM’s cheerleaders pumped up the spirit in the Warriors’ spectators as the match drew to a close. An ace by opposite hitter Danielle Brown allowed the Warriors to rise up to 23-13.

At this point, Nā Aliʻi were still putting up a heavy fight. Once the Warriors got up to 24 points, Nā Aliʻi held them at bay for three serves, but the Warriors scored the final point and won the third set 25-16, with all three sets claimed as Warrior victories.

“[King Kekaulike] is getting better and better. They’re the number two team in the MIL. We know that every match we play in the MIL, we’re going to get the best match,” Head Coach Bala Spencer said.

The victory of tonight’s match was good news for the team.

“I didn’t really tell the girls; tonight we qualified for states! We earned our state berth. I wanted the girls to focus on the breast cancer awareness tonight,” Coach Bala said. “We’re looking forward to taking care of the MIL tournament first.”

He hopes to lead the girls to finish strong in the MIL’s and then roll on over to the state tournament.

Aside from the amazing audience turnout, the decoration of the gym, and the spirit of the game, the girls felt that their hard work and preparation paid off in the end.

“We worked on serve receives and good serving and getting [the ball] over,” Tabaco said.

Kalama was impressed with the successful outcome of the Dig Pink match. “We did what we did for the previous years, and we just added more decorations and promoted it more,” she said.

Kamehameha Schools’ founder, Bernice Pauahi Bishop, passed away on October 16, 1884, from breast cancer. As a result, the school has a long history of supporting early detection awareness and the search for a cure.