LAIE, Hawaii –- For the first time in program history, fifth-ranked Hawaii Pacific (4-0) defeated intra-island nemesis and second-ranked BYU-Hawaii (9-1) 5-4.
The score was knotted at four with Celina Goetti on the court at second singles against the third-ranked singles player in the country, Sherry Liu. With the match square at one set apiece, Goetti fell behind 1-4 in the decisive third set. The junior would rally with all hope seemingly lost. Goetti caught fire and reeled off four unanswered games to come to the brink. Liu fought off match point twice, but Goetti was not to be denied and crushed a forehand winner to send the Sea Warrior in a frenzy.
“At 4-1 down I was feeling like it was a lost cause, but at 4-3 I started to believe I had a chance to win. I was really nervous on my first match point, but when I finally won on the third match point it was surreal. I don’t even remember what happened after that,” said Goetti.
The Sea Warriors put themselves behind the proverbial eight ball after dropping two of the three doubles matches to start the day. It was Goetti and Liza Rybakova keeping HPU in it by teaming up at third doubles for the 8-4 win.
Magdalena Smejova got HPU on the board in singles action with a two-set 6-3, 6-3 win at fifth singles. At sixth singles, Carrie Shuler also need just two sets to dump Jade Griffin 6-3, 7-5. Karen Ramirez fell in the first set 3-6, but responded with 6-2 and 6-3 wins to tie the match and setting the stage for Goetti.
The victory is a signature win for second year head coach Lauren Conching, Conching had four top 25 wins last year, but this was her first top-five triumph. Conching commented after the match.
“I’m so proud of our team. This is the biggest win in the history of the program and they have finally proved how talented they are.”
The loss for BYU-H is the first regular-season duel match loss since joining Division II in 1999, Goetti was eight years old.