Posted with permission, article and pictures, from Hawaii Pacific University
SURPRISE, Ariz. – The No. 4 Hawai’i Pacific University men got off to a slow start, but rallied to beat No. 44 Hawai’i Hilo 4-2 in the semifinals of the PacWest Conference Championships at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex.
The fourth ranked Sharks (16-1) lost the doubles point to the Vulcans (8-9), before posting the come from behind win to move into the championship match.
The Sharks won the first completed match of doubles, as 40th ranked Jakub Beran and Robin Sanz defeated Joshua Liu and Luca Checchia 6-1 at No. 2, but just seconds later UH Hilo’s Luke Hamano and Martin Soukal upset fifth ranked Jan Pleva and Jordi Walder 6-2 at No. 1. The point was decided at No. 3 as Alession DeMichelis and Luca Matheiowetz beat Jan Heine and Benjamin Loccisano 6-3 to give the Vulcans a 1-0 advantage.
The Sharks responded in singles play. Loccisano tied the match at 1-1 from the No. 5 spot, beating Agustin Gentile 6-1, 6-3, but UHH went back up 2-1 at No. 6 as Liu downed Heine 6-1, 6-4.
HPU started the comeback at No. 2 as Pleva withstood a tiebreaker to beat DeMichelis 6-2, 7-6, winning 7-5 in the tiebreak to even the match at 2-2.
The Sharks grabbed the lead at No. 3 where 23rd ranked Sanz came from behind to beat Checchia 5-7, 6-1, 6-2. The big comeback came at No. 4, where Beran overcame a match-point in the second set to beat Matheiowetz 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 to clinch the match 4-2.
The featured match went unfinished at No. 1, where second ranked Walder and fifth ranked Soukal battled in a rugged match. Soukal took the first set in a tiebreaker 7-6 (7-3), but Walder responded with a 6-4 win in the second set. Walder was down 2-3 in the third set, but about to tie the set on serve when the match was ended.
The fourth ranked Sharks, the top seed, now play for the PacWest Conference Championship on Saturday against second seeded and No. 16 Azusa Pacific. APU defeated sixth seeded Point Loma 4-1 in the other semifinal on Friday. The championship match is set for 6 a.m. HST (9 a.m. MST) at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex.