Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, May 10, 2001


3 Hawaii teams
to nationals

By Brandon Lee
Special to the Star-Bulletin

For the first time, both the women's and men's NCAA Division II tennis national championship trophies could be on a plane to Hawaii early next week.

The national tournament began today and runs through Sunday in Pensacola, Fla., with three Hawaii teams in the mix.

In the 16-team women's draw, the No. 1-ranked, two-time defending national champion Brigham Young-Hawaii Lady Seasiders (33-0) were set to meet No. 10 Northeastern State (28-2) in the first round this morning at 9:30, HST.

On the men's side, the second-ranked Seasiders (28-2) and No. 5 Hawaii Pacific (14-2) are in the 16-team field. BYUH's first-round opponent was No. 21 Midwestern State (21-1), while HPU met No. 12 Francis Marion (13-9), both at 4:30 this morning, HST.

In their quest for a third consecutive Division II title and fifth overall (1997-98 NAIA champions), the Lady Seasiders put their record 100 dual-match win streak on the line.

"They got a great record, but I don't think they've played anybody in the Top 15 (of rankings)," BYUH coach Dave Porter said of Northeastern State. "But they have a habit of winning. They're used to winning."

No. 4 Armstrong Atlantic State is the second highest ranked team on BYUH's side of the draw. No. 2 Lynn and No. 3 West Florida are on the opposite side.

The Lady Seasiders defeated all three earlier this year. Should Armstrong and BYUH win their first two matches, they would meet in the semifinals.

The Seasider men are in their first Division II national championship tournament. BYUH suffered a tough loss to No. 1 Drury earlier this year, and could get the opportunity to avenge the loss in the national finals should both advance through their sides of the draw.

An all-Hawaii men's final is also a possibility, however. HPU and BYUH are on opposite sides of the draw. The Sea Warriors fell to Lander in the national championship match last year, and hope to go one step further this season.

"The guys that were there last year will be able to carry (the experience) into this year," HPU coach Henry Somerville said. "Each round gets tougher, and our returning guys will need to be the leaders for us."

At the tournament banquet last night, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division II national and regional award winners were announced last night. Hawaii scored one national award, with BYUH's Peter Madarassy named men's Player to Watch.

For the West Region, Porter and Somerville won men's and women's coaches of the year, respectively. HPU's Wojtek Bratek won Senior Player of the Year, while teammate Mikael Maatta took Rookie Player of the Year honors. BYUH's Petra Gaspar won women's Senior Player of the Year.

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