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Sports Notebook

Friday, December 7, 2001



[ DIVISION II SPORTS ]



Somerville sees HPU as
national contender


By Brandon Lee
blee@starbulletin.com

The City Intercollegiate Tournament was only a beginning for the Hawaii Pacific men's tennis team -- the first real competition for a season that will primarily be played out in late winter and spring.

Still, coach Henry Somerville is not about to minimize the importance of his Sea Warriors winning the "Honolulu" championship over Division II Chaminade and Division I Hawaii. Playing a best-of-5-point format (four singles matches, one doubles) rather than the typical 9-point affair (six/three), HPU downed the Silverswords 5-0 and the Warriors 3-2 at the UH Tennis Complex.

"We don't get a lot of matches in the fall, so this was good for the players," Somerville said. "It put our guys in pressure situations, which we need ... (And) we like the rivalry. I would be lying if I said we didn't."

Though the Sea Warriors will meet Chaminade a minimum of two more times this season, the rivalry the HPU skipper alludes to is the one with Hawaii. The Sea Warriors have dominated the Silverswords in the past and the early indication suggests that may continue.

On the other hand, HPU and Hawaii have been very competitive against each other. The city title has switched hands between the two each of the last five years, and the Warriors lead the overall tournament series by only one, 5-4. The two will meet again in a standard dual match on Jan. 28.

"It gives you a certain amount of confidence when you can go up against Hawaii and get a win," Somerville said. "It gives us a running start going into the spring."

This season, the Sea Warriors hope the boost can carry them just a bit further than in the previous two, which both ended with runner-up finishes in the Division II National Championship tournament.

Highlighting overall depth that starts off with All-City honorees Mikael Maatta in the No. 1 position and newcomer Blaz Jurjec at No. 2, Somerville said his current team is stronger than last year's and should contend once again for the national crown.

"If we get along well together and stay healthy, we're among a group (of teams) that should be right there (at the end of the season)," he said.

The HPU men return to action Jan. 11 against Southern Methodist. The Lady Sea Warriors, also coached by Somerville, begin their season Jan. 22 against Chaminade.

BRIGHAM YOUNG-HAWAII

The Seasider basketball team has won four straight and five of six on the road, and is 6-2 heading into its tournament, which features seven visiting NCAA Division I teams.

Scott Salisbury is averaging a double-double with 12.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

BYUH has gotten off to its good start despite the fact that none of its five starters had ever played together coming into the season.

CHAMINADE

After starting their season with three straight losses against Division I competition in the Maui Invitational, the Silversword basketball team (2-3) has rebounded with two convincing wins against North Park and San Francisco State.

"We're very happy with the two wins, especially the last one," coach Aaron Griess said. "We did a great job defensively of taking San Francisco away from what they wanted to do."

Griess added that he is pleased the team has been receiving contributions from many players, a lot of whom are new and still getting used to each other. Two consistent standouts have been first-year post players Leon Ballard and Mike Donegan.

"(Ballard and Donegan) are threats for the double-double (points and rebounds) each night," Griess said.

HAWAII PACIFIC

According to coach Tony Sellitto, the Sea Warrior basketball team's 30-point loss to No. 16 Seattle Pacific last Saturday was simply a matter of tired legs. The game was HPU's fifth in nine days.

"I think it was completely the fault of the coaching staff," Sellitto said. "Scheduling five games in nine days -- you can't do that at this point of the season. They're a good team, but I'd certainly like to play them later on when we've had some rest."

HPU (3-3) did manage a narrow win at St. Martin's two days before, helping the Sea Warriors to a split on their first road trip of the year. HPU only won once away from home all of last season.

The Sea Warriors will be rested for their next game, when they host NAIA-No. 20 Montana State-Northern at Blaisdell Arena next Friday.

HAWAII-HILO

The Vulcan basketball team has five players averaging in double figures in scoring, led by Scott Prather's 20.2. With two weeks off for finals, coach Jeff Law is taking it easy on his team, stressing free throws and trying to use the time to heal small injuries to Albert Keim and David LaQua.

They will need the rest, as they will play four games in eight days beginning next Friday.

The baseball and softball teams have completed practice, cut down their squads and are ready to hit the field.



Hawaii Pacific
BYU-Hawaii
Chaminade
U.H. Hilo



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