BYU-Hawaii Claims Eighth-Straight PacWest Championship
SURPRISE, Ariz. – BYU-Hawaii defended its tournament title and won its eighth-consecutive PacWest women's tennis championship, beating Hawai'i Pacific, 5-3, in the championship match on Saturday. The Seasiders defeated the Sea Warriors in the final for the second year in a row to earn a return trip to the NCAA Championship.
BYU-Hawaii was the national runner-up in 2013, falling to Armstrong, 5-2. The 2014 NCAA Division II Women's Tennis Championship is May 14-17 in Altamonte Springs, Fla. The full bracket will be announced April 29 at 5:30 p.m. PDT.
In the third-place match, Academy of Art blanked Azusa Pacific, 5-0. In the fifth-place match, PacWest newcomer Sonoma State upset Point Loma, 5-3, to cap off a successful first PacWest Championship.
No. 1 BYU-Hawaii 5 – No. 2 Hawai'i Pacific 3
In another battle of the top-two seeds, the Seasiders took a narrow lead after doubles, and had all it could handle against the Sea Warriors, keeping their record perfect (26-0) with a trio of singles victories. After splitting the first two doubles matches, Marika Kobayashi and Marietta Tuionetoa squeaked past the Sea Warriors, 8-6, at No. 2 to take a 2-1 lead.
"I thought HPU came to play today and played very well. I was a little disappointed with how we played, but even after a disappointing start in singles we came back strong. It was a good win, it was a good team win. 5-3 is not as dominating as we would like, but we're just happy to win and to be representing the West Region at the NCAA tournament," said BYU-Hawaii head coach Dave Porter.
In singles BYU-Hawaii went ahead 3-1 with a quick victory from No. 16 Nannan Zhang at No. 1, with the PacWest Tournament MVP defeating 25th ranked Karen Ramirez 6-1, 6-0. Hawai'i Pacific, however, cut the deficit to one with Magdalena Smejova's 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 3, before the Seasiders pulled back ahead by two with a pivotal 7-5, 6-0 victory from 23rd-ranked Tuionetoa, who battled back from a 5-2 first-set hole.
"I think Tuionetoa's win changed the momentum for us. She was down 5-2, but came back to win the first set and won 11-straight games which was huge," said Porter.
HPU kept within striking distance with Lea Kruse-Utermann's 6-4, 6-1 win at No. 6, but BYU-Hawaii clinched the championship with a three-set victory (1-6, 6-4, 7-5) from Sasha Ulbirchtova at No. 5.
No. 4 Academy of Art 5 – No. 3 Azusa Pacific 0
No. 4 Academy of Art (17-3) took third place in the tournament with a 5-0 win over No. 3 Azusa Pacific (17-7). The nation's No. 14 ranked Urban Knights swept the No. 13 Cougars in doubles with all three pro-sets finishing within a minute of each other.
In singles, Daniela Amelunge got the first win, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 5 singles to put the Urban Knights one win away from taking the match. Jenny Johansson got the clinching win at No. 6 singles, edging Bethany Duval, 6-2, 6-1. Azusa Pacific's Emily Harris, who won the PacWest tournament's Sportsmanship Award, was leading, 7-6, 1-0 when the match was finished.
No. 6 Sonoma State 5 – No. 5 Point Loma
In the fifth place match No. 6 Sonoma State (17-6) upset No. 5 Point Loma (13-13) 5-3, getting a three-set win at No. 5 singles from Karlee Budge, who defeated Hillary Ramage 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 to clinch the victory. The Seawolves took a 2-1 advantage after doubles. Point Loma led Sonoma State 6-1 at No. 3 doubles, but Sheena Johnson and Budge came back to get a 9-7 victory.