POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Apr 29, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 2:28 a.m. HST, Apr 29, 2011
Aiea's Dennis Lajola, who helped the University of Hawaii to its first three Western Athletic Conference tennis championships, was honored as the Rainbows' first WAC Player of the Year last night at the conference banquet in Boise, Idaho.
Lajola will try to lead the Rainbows to a fourth consecutive title when the men's WAC Tournament begins today at Appleton Tennis Center in Boise.
Lajola has played No. 1 singles all four years at UH. In 2008, when UH won its first title, Lajola was WAC Freshman of the Year.
"Dennis is extremely competitive," UH coach John Nelson said. "He has high expectations, he's not content. He shows up and works everyday. He represented his country as a junior, traveled all around the world, played the junior French Open and Wimbledon, all of them, but he was not content. He came here to learn and he needed to learn. Junior tennis is one level, college is another and pros another."
Lajola was named first team All-WAC in singles and doubles, with partner Jonathan Brooklyn. Junior Leo Rosenberg earned a spot on the second team in singles for a second straight year. Lajola joins Andreas Weber and Sascha Heinemann as the only Rainbows to earn All-WAC honors all four seasons, with Lajola the only four-time, first-team selection in singles.
He is ranked No. 114 nationally and has defeated four ranked opponents this year. This is his first WAC doubles honor.
The women's season ended yesterday in Boise when the Wahine fell to third-seeded Nevada 4-1 in the first round of the WAC tournament. The sixth-seeded Rainbow Wahine won the doubles point, taking two of three matches, but lost the first four singles matches.
UH sophomore Katarina Poljakova was named first-team All-WAC in singles. She had a team-best 15-6 record in singles, playing at No. 1 most of the season. Junior teammate Barbara Pinterova earned a place on the second team. The two Slovakians also earned second-team honors in doubles.
Hawaii lost its last three to end the season 8-13.