Rainbow Wahine tennis: Seniors come through on their day

Alzbeta Houbova, Roxanne Resma and Maayan Sela (with coach Jun Hernandez behind) posed after their senior day victories over UC Santa Barbara. / Photo by Brian McInnis

The Hawaii women’s tennis seniors took matters into their own hands on their special day.

Outgoing players Maayan Sela (No. 2 court), Roxanne Resma (No. 5) and Alzbeta Houbova (No. 6) won their singles matches to anchor the Rainbow Wahine’s 6-1 dual match win over Big West leader UC Santa Barbara at the UH tennis complex on Saturday.

In the case of Sela and Resma, that required coming back from a set down against their opponent. Sela’s 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Tiffany Lagarde clinched the match following a team doubles point and singles wins by Petra Melounova at No. 1 and Houbova.

“That’s special. That’s really special,” coach Jun Hernandez said. “These girls have been working so hard for the past few years. We have Maayan for the first year (after she transferred following three years at Pacific) but her work ethic, it seems like she’s been here four years with us. … “The main thing is it was a privilege coaching these seniors and I’m glad they closed out the last home match with a victory. Hopefully it will continue and we win again in the Big West and hopefully make the NCAAs.”

UH (7-9 overall) won its fourth straight dual match after dropping eight in a row, and improved to 4-2 in Big West play while UCSB dropped to 3-1. The Rainbow Wahine now have the luxury of some rest before heading to UC Davis for an April 21 match. They then remain on the mainland for the Big West tournament in Indian Wells, Calif.

Team health (or the lack thereof) has been a theme of the season.

“We have a lot of preparation to do and get healthy, and getting better,” Hernandez said. “Especially last couple weeks, we had so many dual matches, so it was hard for them, but we competed well. The next few days, we can afford to give them two, three days off at least and get healthy and compete well in the Big West tournament.

After missing a match due to injury, UH’s 100th-ranked player, Melounova, returned to form with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Amit Lev Ari.

Melounova had to shake off some frustration in the second set while falling behind three games to none.

UH’s other point came at the No. 4 court, where Michelle Pits topped Stephanie Yamada in three.

“They’ve always been great, talented and skilled players,” Hernandez said of what’s working at the moment. “They’re playing with a lot of passion and talent for what we’ve been doing. So, I think that’s the main ingredient. And they’re playing for each other, and hard and smart on the court.”


Meanwhile, the UH were in action simultaneously at home, an uncommon event. UC Irvine proved too tough for the Rainbow Warriors, who last their dual match 5-2. The UH men host UC Riverside at noon Sunday for their senior day dual match.

Andre Ilagan served up a ball in a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Sasha Krasnov of UC Irvine. / Photo by Brian McInnis