UH Hilo won its first PacWest title since 2014 by taking out Azusa Pacific, which entered the match undefeated in the season against NCAA Division II opponents.
The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo men’s tennis team stunned No. 1 seed Azusa Pacific University to claim their first-ever league title, 4-3, on Saturday afternoon at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Center in Arizona. The Vulcan team won the school its first PacWest banner in any sport since 2014 (men’s golf).
UH Hilo had two years to think about the opportunities that were narrowly missed at the previous two PacWest Championships, but the Vulcans did not miss on their third opportunity with Luca Checchia clinching a 4-3 victory over No. 1 seed Azusa Pacific at No. 4 singles in the championship match, making UH Hilo the 2021 PacWest Champions.
UH Hilo won its first PacWest title since sweeping the PacWest Golf Championships in 2014 by taking out Azusa Pacific, which entered the match undefeated in the season against NCAA Division II opponents. The win gives the Vulcans 14 PacWest titles all-time, which is the third most among active members of the conference.
“I’m at a loss for words,” head coach Kallen Mizuguchi says. He led his squad to the PacWest Championship in just his third year as head coach. “We got through three tough schools. All three of the matches could have gone either way.”
The overall match score was tied 3-3 when Checchia was down a break in the deciding set against Leyton Bohren on court 16. The secondary stadium court at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Club was surrounded on all sides by fans who came from around the grounds to see the deciding set of the 2021 PacWest Championships.
Checchia got back on serve and led 3-2 when everyone from the other courts arrived at the last remaining match. Both of the next two games went to a deciding point, and Bohren won both of them to break and take a 4-3 lead. The following game went to deciding point as well, and this time Checchia won the point with his defense to break right back and even the match.