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Shark Hunters: The UHH women’s tennis team is finally getting the best of No. 5 Hawaii Pacific

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Next week, the UH-Hilo women’s basketball team will dutifully take to court against the national superpower Hawaii Pacific in an attempt to provoke a massive uproar that has narrowly evaded them once this season.

Before they do that, the Vulcans may need to talk to the school’s ladies team first.

The ladies at Kallen Mizuguchi finally cracked the code and knocked out No. 5 HPU 4-3 Monday afternoon at the Fairmont Orchid Resort on the coast of Kohala.

“That’s pretty cool, I really don’t have the words right now,” said Mizuguchi after what was by far the biggest win in his more than two years at work. “Beating team No. 5 in the country is something to be proud of.”

With the 3-3 tied score and the other games over, all eyes were on Vulcan newcomer Carolina Alfazon and HPU’s Valentina Mokrova

“This is what you play for, this is what you coach for,” Mizuguchi told Alfazon before the start of the third set. “Go out, give it your all and enjoy the moment.”

Alfazon, a Mexican resident and transfer from Sonoma State, fell behind the Sharks sophomore 3-1.

But she then threw four games in a row to take a 5-3 lead. Mokrova fought back to stay alive in the next match, but Alfazon broke her opponent’s serve to claim the match. She shook hands and then was crushed with hugs by her teammates.

The Vulcans turn HPU into a doubled alarm. Alfeveland and Hannah Highsmith defeated Mokrova and Elodie Busson on lane one, 6-3, and UHH’s Hikari Osaki and Sandra Dafincescu defeated Rikona Murakami and Marta Ruszczynska with the same score on lane three. HPU won the number 2 doubles, but the Vulcans claimed the point by winning two out of three.

Highsmith gave the Vulcans a 2-0 lead with a quick 6-1, 6-1 triumph on lane five, but HPU responded with Busson’s 6-4, 6-4 win over Dafincescu on lane two. Busson ranked No. 2 in the West Region last year and was named ITA All-American.

Carmelle Joyner took a 6-3, 6-4 victory on lane four for UHH to give them a 3-1 lead, but the Sharks won the next two games to take things 3-3. Marleen Tilgner, last year number 4 in the West, defeated UHH freshman Hikari Osaki on the stadium field 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) and Ruszczynska went three sets before beating Anouk van Hoek 6-3, 3 -6, 6-1 on lane six.

That left the match of Alfonso and Mokrova, which lasted just over two hours and attracted the full attention of each team.

“Carolina really fought,” Mizuguchi said. “Now we have to figure out a way to make use of what’s left in the tank for the next game.”

Not much was left.

The Sharks bounced back with a 4-0 win in the nightcap and sent the Vuls back to Hilo with a 3-1 record.



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