Luna tennis teams prepare for the season’s crucial matches
LAHAINA – It’s back to familiar territory at the top of the Maui Interscholastic League standings for the Lahainaluna High School tennis teams as the crucial matches of the 2015 season begin to unfold.
With the MIL team playoffs set for next week at the Royal Lahaina Resort’s tennis facility, the Luna girls are undefeated, in first place in the West Division and the top seed, while the boys team has one loss and will enter the team tournament as the second seed.
The team playoffs will be followed by the individual state qualifier scheduled for the following week at Wailea.
“These matches will determine the six boys and six girls, as well as six doubles teams, that will represent the MIL at the state championships in Honolulu,” said veteran Lahainaluna tennis coach Macario Pascual last week from the Lunas’ practice site at the Lahaina Civic Center courts.
“We are a very young and inexperienced team, but all the kids work so hard at practice and help one another to improve,” Coach Mac continued. “We have five or six beginners, and we’re not the most talented team, but the experienced ones have been so helpful and encouraging of the younger ones – it is really gratifying to me that we are doing as well as we are. It’s been really fun for me.”
Pascual cited the efforts of senior Max Linder as representative of the camaraderie and spirit of the 2015 team.
“Max is one of the interesting faces of the team. He was the MIL runner-up in doubles last year and has gone through three surgeries to come back as one of the hardest workers on the team. He never complains and worked hard over the summer to improve his game. He never gave up, and I see him thriving in college with his plans to take a 3.85 GPA to a Division III school in North Carolina to study sports medicine,” he said.
Linder is joined by juniors Jarret Pascual and Blaine Casil in the team’s leadership core, with sophomores Radon Sinenci and Ethan Kaleiopu, and freshmen Kennedy Makekau, Shane Ramos, Everett Prito and Cameron McKeague rounding out the roster.
The Lady Lunas are led by senior standout and 2014 doubles runner-up Nicole Aceret, junior defending MIL singles champ Joanna Aceret, and sophomore singles runner up Shaniya Abut.
Sophomores Christine Ramos, Jamie Fujii and Gaila Galano, along with first-year players Ruby O’Donnell and Kiana Bell, fill out the Lahainaluna lineup card.
Coach Mac also gave special praise to senior assistant coach Katya Brody, who has weathered four surgeries to maintain her support of the Luna tennis team, along with fellow assistant Edwin Pascual.
A product of the Shigeto “Shigesh” Wakida youth tennis program in Lahaina, Pascual is keenly dedicated to passing on the values and traditions taught to him by the legendary coach.
“I want to keep up the continuity of the youth program with the Lahaina Tennis Club up to the high school team. It’s important to take care of the roots,” he concluded.