Posted with permission, article and pictures, courtesy of Hawaii Pacific University
KAILUA, Hawai’i – The No. 10 Hawai’i Pacific University women punched their ticket to the national championships with a 4-2 victory over No. 31 Point Loma on Friday in the 2022 NCAA Division II West Regional #1 Championship at the Kailua Racquet Club.
The No. 10 Sharks (16-8), the West Region’s top seed, won the hard-fought doubles point from the fourth-seeded Sea Lions (19-8). HPU won the top three singles positions, but PLNU took the bottom positions.
Once again playing without PacWest Conference Player of the Year Shaline Pipa, the Sharks had a substitution in the doubles and moved up the singles lineup to start NCAA Tournament play.
HPU won at No. 2 doubles as Elodie Busson and Mihoki Miyahara beat Samantha Neilson and Angelique Friedrich 6-3, but the Sea Lions took No. 3 doubles with Faith Pearson and Rachel Whittington downed Valentina Mokrova and Marta Ruszczynska 6-2. The point was won by the No. 1 pair of Marleen Tilgner and substitute Rikona Murakami who edged Arianna Audelo and Amanda Letzring 7-5 to go up 1-0.
HPU quickly made it 3-0 as Miyahara swept Friedrich 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3, and 34th ranked Busson beat 62nd ranked Audelo 6-4, 6-1 at No. 1.
Point Loma rallied for two points winning No. 6 with Pearson beating Murakami 6-1, 6-2, then Neilson claimed No. 5 against Ruszczynska 6-0, 6-3 to pull to 3-2.
But it was 20th ranked Tilgner who came through for the Sharks, taking No. 2 against Sepulveda 6-2, 6-3 for the 4-2 victory.
In the unfinished position, Mokrova was tied with Letzring 4-4 in the second set when the match was terminated after dropping the first in a tiebreaker 7-6 (7-4).
The Sharks now wait until next Wednesday to learn who they will face in the NCAA II Sweet 16. That’s when the NCAA Division II Tennis Committee seeds the Division II National Championships, set for May 17-21 at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla.