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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 23, 2010

UH men seeking WAC title


By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer

Rainbow Warrior tennis will chase more history Sunday.

The 44th-ranked University of Hawai'i men (9-7, 3-1 WAC) play Idaho at 11 a.m. at the UH Tennis Complex. A win in this rescheduled match should give the 'Bows a share of the regular-season conference championship and the No. 1 seed at next week's Western Athletic Conference Championship in Fresno.

In the middle of raisin country, Hawai'i will try to enhance its suddenly stellar postseason history by winning a third consecutive WAC tournament title. The 2008 championship was the 'Bows' first and it was followed by their NCAA Championship debut.

Last year they defended, beating 20th-ranked Boise State in the WAC final at Mānoa. They wrote another chapter by getting their first NCAA win, upsetting Oklahoma State ranked 20th the next week in the NCAA's first round. The Cowboys had been in the previous two Sweet 16s.

Hopes for a logical progression start Sunday against the Vandals (19-7, 2-3 WAC), ranked 70th in a poll that goes 75 deep. When the teams played here April 4, Hawai'i was up 3-0 and two games from clinching when rain halted it. The teams start from scratch Sunday.

"All these (WAC) teams are very good," UH coach John Nelson said. "The goal is to get the No. 1 seed so Boise and Fresno State play in the semifinals."

The 'Bows staged dramatic upsets of both the Broncos and Bulldogs in the last two WAC tournaments. This season, FSU is ranked 29th, with a sweep of Boise and a loss in Hawai'i three weeks ago. BSU, which won the WAC title from 2005 to 2007, is 49th. It lost to UH last weekend, then beat No. 35 Arizona.

Hawai'i's top three players are a combined 36-12 this season. 'Aiea's Dennis Lajola, a junior, is 9-7 at No. 1. Senior Andreas Weber is 12-4 at No. 2 with a five-match winning streak. Sophomore Leo Rosenberg is a recent loss from perfection, going 7-1 at No. 3 and 8-for-8 at No. 4.

It is what Nelson expected. "There are no surprises," he said. "Everyone is working, improving. We haven't arrived, but we're working in the right direction.

"We haven't had one person step up as a team leader, but everyone is leading by example. I look for self-reliant, independent people and we have a whole team full of them. They care about the team, but they know how to take care of business."