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By Adrian Labuda. February 17, 2017 - 7:23 am
Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) Division II champion men’s tennis team, ranked no. 1 nationally, is ready to defend its title this season. Captain Filip Dolezel is returning to lead the charge, and the team has reason to be optimistic about its chances to repeat.
The team isn’t as experienced this year according to coach Hendrik Bode. He added, “Last year’s team was a group of players who had been through three seasons together..lost in two finals…had a lot of upsets but they knew exactly what it was going to take for them to go all the way.”
The team is adjusting to new team members as it lost four of its six starters as Dolezel said, “We have a lot of freshmen so it’s a little bit of a different story. There is a lot of potential but still a lot of things to get better at and improve.”
Dolezel has been assisting the freshman acclimation process in various ways he said, “On and off the court, I try to help them with whatever they need. I like to show them nice places like the beach and make them feel comfortable.”
Dolezel an All-American comes into this season ranked 13th nationally and second in the west region. But Dolezel isn’t letting the pressure get to him. “I think we can think about the highest position again. I think the guys are very good. There’s still a lot of things to work on but why not?”
Bode is a former All-American performer for the Hawaii Pacific University Sharks. Bode has been on the coaching staff since 2010 and became the head coach in 2012.
After reaching the pinnacle of Division II men’s tennis in 2016, the Sharks will begin their title defense Feb. 11 against Brigham Young University-Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii.