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Punahou's Lim finishes career unbeaten


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POSTED: Sunday, May 10, 2009

For the first time in five matches, Lahainaluna's Jackie Owens managed to take a set off Punahou's Kristin Lim.

It only made Lim angry — and focused.

Lim responded with a near-flawless third set and the Buffanblu senior capped an amazing high school career with her third straight state singles title in yesterday's Carlsmith Ball/HHSAA Tennis Championships at Central Oahu Regional Park.

The Cornell-bound Lim went the distance of her four years undefeated after her 6-1, 6-7 (6), 6-1 win over Owens in a rematch of last year's final.

Repeat: She suffered no losses in singles or doubles.

“;Every year, it's still extremely difficult,”; said Lim, who was extended to a third set by only her second opponent all year. “;To be on top of your game every match, to keep focused and not let down. I'm going to train every day (for college).”;

Kalani's Jared Spiker picked up the first boys state singles title out of the Oahu Interscholastic Association in 26 years with his 7-6 (3), 6-3 win over Punahou's Kevin Caulfield.

When Caulfield's final shot zipped wide of Spiker's sideline about 2 hours after play started, the junior raised both fists in the air in silent triumph.

“;Loss of words. Longest match, toughest match probably ever,”; said Spiker, the OIA champion, who played his first year of high school tennis after transferring from Kaiser. “;Both my brothers (Jonathan and Jason) were state champs in wrestling. I felt some pressure to show my dad I could win a state championship, too. It's the greatest feeling I've ever had.”;

Spiker, who rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the first set, was also adamant in giving thanks to his coach, Matt Lee, his teammates, and his best friend, Michiyo Kato.

The 'Iolani duo of Kyle Shiroma and Brent Hashiba outlasted Punahou's top-seeded Erik Pang and Hiroshi Hikida for the boys doubles title, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Shiroma and Hashiba, the second seed, were so ecstatic after they slammed home the final point, they didn't know whether to chest-bump, hug, or shake hands with each other. They settled for an awkward combination of the three.

Hashiba was just happy to send Shiroma, a senior, out as a champion. Shiroma made sure to give a nod of respect to their vanquished opponents after their marathon match.

“;It wouldn't have been, without our teammates and my partner forcing me to come to practice and stuff like that,”; Hashiba said with a laugh. “;He practices way harder than I do.”;

Punahou was successful in girls doubles behind two sophomores. Ashley Nakaoka and Jennifer Laws earned a 6-1, 6-3 victory over 'Iolani's Nikki Castel and Bobbi Oshiro, earning a much easier victory than the last time they met in Interscholastic League of Honolulu play.

It was the second state doubles title for Nakaoka, who adapted to a new playing partner in Laws. Laws, in turn, patterned her game around Nakaoka's shoulder injury that hampered her midway through the season.

“;We had to form new strategies with her shoulder so she wouldn't hurt it anymore,”; Laws said. “;I would attack the net more so she wouldn't have to work her shoulder as much.”;

Punahou also swept the boys and girls team titles. The Buffanblu boys won their 19th straight championship with 25 points over 'Iolani (17), tying Englewood (Cherry Creek, Colo.) for the national record in consecutive high school tennis titles. The Punahou girls' 23 points was enough for the title (their seventh straight) well before the final day of competition.