Sabers beat Lunas to retain command
KAPALUA – When Maui High School last won the Maui Interscholastic League girls golf championship, Jasmine Cabajar was in the 3rd grade.
Cabajar, now a sophomore, shot 40 on the front nine of the Kapalua Bay Course on Thursday, helping put the Sabers on top of a close race for the title in 2014.
The Sabers beat Lahainaluna 125-136 – Maui High now stands at 7-1, two points in front of seven-time defending champion Baldwin and four ahead of the Lunas (5-3).
Maui High got a 42 from Kristeena Locke and a 43 from Anna Apana. Taylor Akamine shot a 44.
The Lunas were led by twins Caitlyn Villatora (39) and Caylyn Villatora (43). Jennifer Mentz shot 54 and Ennah Cabading fired a 57.
“It’s very good pressure because we know the two twins are really good,” said Cabajar, one of three sophomores atop the Maui High lineup. “I just tried to play my game, me and my partner (Locke) just tried to play our games. Hopefully we were going to come out with that win. I think we can be really good this year.”
The race has Cabajar’s attention.
“It’s actually really fun,” said the 5-foot right-hander. “We’re just going to try our best. We feel the pressure, but I just take my time, I just tell myself, ‘Oh, just make a par. Birdie would be good, but just try to stay consistent.’ “
Cabajar and Locke, the defending MIL individual champion, have been playing with each other since they were young.
“We have been playing together for a long time,” Cabajar said. “We know our strengths and weaknesses and it helps us to play together. We’re great partners. We push each other to get better and better.”
Dana Yoshimura and Courtney Cadiz each shot nonscoring 50s for the Sabers.
All three of the league contenders face one another two more times – Maui High and Baldwin will meet twice next week.
“We have got three teams that are fighting it out – Baldwin, Lahainaluna and ourselves,” Sabers coach Brenda Rego said. “It’s only halfway, nothing’s clinched yet. We still have to work hard for the rest of the season.”
With Cabajar having just completed a season with the Sabers’ basketball team last month, she is still rounding into form.
“Jasmine has been playing pretty good – she had two doubles (bogeys) today, but to get a 40 here, that’s still pretty good,” Rego said. “They know what they have to do.”
The MIL receives eight slots to the girls state tournament and four will belong to the championship team.
“At least, if you win that title, you have got four girls in,” Rego said. “If you don’t, there are only four more spots and we have a lot of good girls in the MIL ranks. We don’t have enough spots.”
Rego says her team enjoys the battle.
“I think we have a good depth team,” Rego said. “We have three sophomores and a senior (Akamine) in the starting lineup. Our sophomores are tough, they are fighters.”
The Lunas have lost three matches in a row and now have a two-week break before resuming the team season.
“Maui High has a solid four,” Lahainaluna coach Laura Jones said. “You have four people, if one person is having a rough day, you have someone else who can pick it up. I think that’s kind of where we are right now where a couple of us aren’t finding our games right now. That has been a struggle for us and maybe putting some pressure on the other girls.
“You never give up and that is going to be the biggest thing for us. We have two weeks to prepare and get ready for the second half of the season.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com