Daguio, Westmoreland win ILH titles
By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
WAIPAHU — While it rained here, there and seemingly everywhere but the Patsy T. Mink CORP Tennis Complex, Kelsey Daguio and Matthew Westmoreland sprinkled a bit of their magic to win singles championships yesterday at the Clay Benham ILH Post Season Tournament.
Daguio, a senior from Sacred Hearts Academy, held off Hawai'i Baptist sophomore Karlene Pang, 6-2, 7-6. It was a showdown of the top two seeds in a girls singles draw dominated by small schools.
Punahou won the ILH team titles last week, but Daguio beat Mid-Pacific Institute's Gabrielle Gorence, the fifth seed, in one semifinal this week. Pang ousted sixth-seeded Jan Matsumoto of Maryknoll in the other.
Meanwhile, while the drizzle kept dodging the courts and was never a factor, Westmoreland won his third straight ILH boys title. The Island Pacific Academy senior, who is headed to Texas A&M, stopped 'Iolani junior Marco Kobayashi, 6-3, 6-2, in the final. The fourth-seeded Kobayashi upset top-seed Robin Kiyabu of Punahou in the semifinals.
Westmoreland, seeded second this week, goes for his first and last state high school title when the Carlsmith Ball Tennis Championships start May 6 on the Big Island. His focus is now clear.
"I didn't crave to win it before," he said yesterday. "It was just kind of another tournament. But this year, for my senior year, last one, I want it."
Kobayashi held an early lead yesterday, but Westmoreland won the final four games of the first set and never cooled off, or slowed his warp-speed feet.
Kobayashi, like Pang, hung tough but could never convert at a critical juncture. "I gave him a couple points and then he gets confident and made some nice shots," Kobayashi said. "I got to give it to him. He played well."
Westmoreland had a large and loud following at CORP. He was showered with confetti by friends when it was over, then autographed tennis balls for a group of awed juniors. He felt the support helped him hold off the relentless Kobayashi.
Daguio, who finished top three in ILH doubles with Kelly Domingo the last three years, was in a world of her own on the other stadium court.
She never trailed in the opening set, but Pang opened up her impressive arsenal and began coping better with Daguio's huge topspin in the second. The sophomore was up 5-2 and serving for the set at 5-4, but the senior's experience, and versatility, won out.
Daguio, who will play for Chaminade in the fall, broke Pang's serve, then scored four straight points — after four long rallies — to go up 6-2 in the tiebreaker. Pang erased one match point but went down on the next.
"I told myself if I wanted to win I had to stay positive and focus on myself ," said Daguio, who admitted she felt lots of pressure as the top seed. "A lot of things were going on in my mind. I wasn't really hitting my shots well and I was making a lot of errors. When it was 2-5 I told myself I need to be more focused on my shots and in my head I should only be thinking about the ball and the court."
Punahou, which also won another ILH boys title last week, captured both doubles titles. Fifth-seeded Paul Okuda and Travis Yoshimoto outlasted Kamehameha's Roman Kop and Marcel Chan, 5-7, 6-3, 10-6, in the super-tiebreaker. Top-seeded Jennifer Laws and Ashley Nakaoka won the girls championship, 6-2, 7-5, over 'Iolani's Kristen Poei and Bobbi Oshiro.