No matter how long or short its season ends up being, UH-Hilo’s men’s tennis team got its money’s worth Sunday on the Kohala Coast.
And then some.
The No. 20 Vulcans and No. 5 Hawaii Pacific each had a split to show for more than eight long hours of tennis that included a short break for dinner and another to figure out how to turn the lights on at Fairmont Orchid.
Playing for the first time in more than 11 months, UHH had a chance to turn the lights off on the Sharks, who instead won all three doubles matches in the nightcap to prevail 4-2. The Vuls were denied despite wins from their Nos. 1-2 players: Martin Soukal and freshman Alessio Demichelis.
Earlier, No. 3 Luca Checchia and No. 4 Chun En Wu joined them in victory as UHH rolled 5-2. En Wu also scored a doubles victory with Joshua Liu.
Soukal scored a measure of revenge in the first match, turning the tables on Benjamin Loccisano from a previous loss with a 6-4, 6-1 victory in a battle between a pair of top-five ranked players in the West Region.
The day ended with darkness – but after the lights were turned on – UHH freshman Luca Matheiowetz had a pair of match points with a 5-4 lead in the third, but the Sharks’ Cheng-Chieh Wang came back to win the next three games to clinch the match and the HPU victory.
The Vuls have a break, but for how long is the question?
They have a trip to Southern California scheduled in March, COVID permitting. They are also scheduled to go to Oahu for a rematch with the Sharks in April, and if all goes well every conference team will be at the Pacific West Conference championships in late April in Surprise, Ariz.
“With so many unknowns with the 2021 schedule, we approach each practice with a positive mindset, an opportunity to improve,” coach Kallen Mizuguchi said before the season started. “If we can have a full season, we will be ready. With all the COVID-19 protocols set in place, we will try our best to stay safe and healthy.”
Fresh off two 7-0 victories over Chaminade on Saturday, the UHH women’s tennis team takes to the court Monday at Fairmont Orchid with two matches against Hawaii Pacific.