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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Chan's tennis game elevates 49ers

By Dennis Anderson
Advertiser Staff Writer

When Kelly Chan came to Long Beach State from Konawaena High 20 months ago, "she had all the tools, but didn't know how to win," says 49ers tennis coach Jennie Hilt.

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"She came to us with potential, but her game needed to be developed. She needed to learn about strategy."

Chan says: "I didn't have a lot of match experience. I was not as prepared as other people."

She has learned well.

This spring Chan and partner Cheryl Kindred, a senior from Arizona, won their first 20 matches and spent a week in the heady atmosphere of the Omni Hotels Collegiate Tennis rankings (the only player from Hawai'i ranked this season). They are now 20-1, the only loss to UC-Irvine.

Their success is "like wow! Kind of surprising," Chan said yesterday. "We didn't expect to be partners, but we really work well together. Our styles complement each other."

Chan "has a very strong serve and great hands at the net," says Hilt. "And being a lefty is always an advantage."

"She worked on her footwork in the fall to make her faster. It contributed to her confidence."

"Now," Hilt says, "Kelly has the game to stand out."

Long Beach State, 18-2 and ranked No. 73, and Chan play in the Big West championships starting Friday in Ojai, Calif.


• Lewis & Clark (Portland, Ore.)

Freshman Mari Kotake (Punahou '01, of Kaimukii) birdied the 18th hole Saturday to beat the defending champion by a stroke and win the Northwest Conference women's golf championship at Sisters, Ore.

Kotake's scores were 79-83 —162. She sank a 15-foot putt to win after defending champ Emily Hungenberg's chip attempt for birdie hit the flagstick and settled inside two feet.

The victory is the fourth tournament title for Kotake in her first year with the Pioneers. She won the Northwest Conference fall tournament in October, the Linfield Invitational in September and the Pacific Invitational three weeks ago.

Pacific (Ore.) sophomore Whitney-Reigh Asao (Hawai'i Baptist '00, of Pearl City) missed last weekend's championships because she broke her finger the previous week.

Hungenberg's Linfield team won the team title by 77 strokes.


• New York U.

NYU finished third in the Molten Division III Championship last night at NYU in Manhattan. Senior setter Dominic Griffin (Punahou '98, of Manoa) had 57 assists and 10 digs in the four-game victory over Lehman of New York to finish his career with a NYU record of 5,216 assists, including 1,132 this season.

On Sunday, Griffin was among 28 honored with the NYU Student-Athlete Academic Achievement Award. Griffin is a history major.