Thursday, May 11, 2000
SMALL COLLEGE NOTEBOOK
Top awards forBy Brandon Lee
Special to the Star-Bulletin
Hawaii schools swept the regional tennis coaching honors last night at the NCAA Division II National Championship banquet at Pensacola, Fla.
Brigham Young-Hawaii's Dave Porter repeated as regional women's coach of the year, his 16th such honor. He earned the national coach award last year.
The regional men's coach of the year honors went to Hawaii Pacific's Henry Somerville.
BYUH also received three other awards last night.
Seasider sophomore Tagifano So'onalole was named both the women's National and the West Region ITA Player to Watch. BYUH's Toshi Matsui was named the men's regional Senior Player of the Year.
HPU freshman Jan Tribler was named the men's national and regional Rookie of the Year.
Tennis teams favoredThe BYUH women's and HPU men's tennis teams are among the favorites to win their respective divisions at the national tournament that began today at the University of South Florida.
The Seasider women, ranked No. 1, began their title defense against Ferris State of Michigan today. BYUH (26-0) has won 63 consecutive dual matches over the past two-plus seasons.
"There are three or four teams good enough to win the tournament, but I think all the others view us as the team to beat," BYUH coach Dave Porter said. "Our team is more relaxed this year, though, after coming here last year.
"We're focusing on one match, one day at a time; I don't think the girls will feel any pressure to repeat until possibly the later stages of the tournament, if we get that far."
The second-ranked HPU men are riding a winning streak of their own, having reeled off 17 consecutive victories going into the tournament for a 21-3 mark. The Sea Warriors are the third seed in the men's draw, and will face Bloomsburg College of Pennsylvania in the first round.
"Our men are excited and a little anxious to get started, but we feel confident about our chances," coach Henry Somerville said. "Winning the Blue-Gray Championships (tournament involving top Division II and NAIA teams last month) was a real eye-opener for us; we realized winning the national championship was not wishful thinking."
The HPU women are also competing at the nationals. The No. 11 Sea Warriors (11-7) opened against Armstrong State of Georgia.
Sea Warriors snubbedAfter an entire season of being ranked in the top 25 and achieving an overall mark of 36-14, the HPU softball team's season came to an abrupt halt on Monday when the Sea Warriors were snubbed for an at-large bid to the West Regional Tournament.
Four teams were invited to the West Regional, and the Sea Warriors were ranked No. 4 in the regional poll as recently as last week.
No. 6 UC Davis split a pair of games with Chico State last weekend. The Sea Warriors went 1-1 against No. 5 Western Washington then fell to No. 1 Humboldt State in the championship game of the Pacific West Conference postseason tournament.
The Sea Warriors had felt good about their chances for a regional bid. However, UC Davis leapfrogged from the sixth position to receive the final bid from the regional committee.
"They (UC Davis) won nine out of their last 10 games and had a higher power-rated schedule than us," Sea Warriors coach Howard Okita said. "We're disappointed, but Davis was a regional team last year and they have a lot of national respect. Nos. 3-6 in the region were real close."
With only two seniors departing and everyone else likely to return, the Sea Warriors are already looking forward to next year. The team won 36 games with a starting lineup that regularly used four freshmen and two sophomores.
"We most likely will get everyone back and we have some real good players coming in," Okita said. "We must work harder, though, so we leave no room for doubt for the selection committee next year."
HPU's Garcia citedHPU shortstop Holly Garcia was named 2000 PacWest Fastpitch Freshman of the Year, as voted by conference coaches. She hit .331 on the season, while leading the Sea Warriors with 13 doubles. Garcia was outstanding in the field as well, committing just eight errors all season.