HPU Men's tennis team to play for National Championship
May 16, 2014 at 10:36 PM HST - Updated July 20 at 6:11 PM
ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FL (May 16, 2014) – The second-ranked Hawai'i Pacific Men's Tennis Team (23-0) is headed to the national championship match after defeating third-ranked Barry (25-3), 5-1, in a D II heavyweight semifinal showdown.
The Sea Warriors seized a 2-1 lead during doubles play. What was supposed to be a doubles showcase, featuring the first and second ranked teams in the nation, turned out to be a walkover. Petr Michnev and Thibaud Berland showed why they are ranked number one with a quick 8-3 win. HPU went up 2-0 after the third doubles team of Yann Renault and Adriano Locorotondo put up their second 8-4 victory in as many days. Barry just edged HPU at second doubles to get on the board.
Singles play was hotly contested between the two storied programs, fitting of the national semifinal stage. While some of the best in the country battled at the top, HPU separated itself in the middle part of the lineup. Mattis Wetzel gave HPU its third point with a 6-3, 6-4 win at fourth singles. Then Locorotondo won 6-4, 6-1 at fifth singles to put HPU on the brink. It was the ITA Rookie of the Year, Berland, who clinched the match with a 7-5, 6-1 win at third singles.
Michnev miraculously won his first set 7-6 (7-5) after going down 5-0 in the tiebreaker.
"I could not be more happy for our guys. They've played their hearts out today and showed a lot of character when they needed to. This was a new situation for all of them but they stepped up to the occasion and showed why we have been so successful this season," said Head Coach Hendrik Bode.
HPU will play top ranked West Florida tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. EST in Altamonte Springs.
"We're very excited to get the chance to play in a national championship match tomorrow and I'm confident that our guys will bring everything they have again tomorrow to put themselves in the best situation to get a shot at another win," said Bode.