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by Kaylee Noborikawa, staff writer

Cross country
The 2007 season was a long road for the HPU men’s and women’s cross country teams, but the Sea Warriors excelled with flying, er, sprinting colors.

The HPU men’s cross country team chased its goal of a perfect season and succeeded by placing first in every race during the regular season (a total of six).

Its dominance continued into the Pacific West Conference Championship, in Belmont, Calif. The Sea Warriors narrowly won the race by two points over host Notre Dame de Namur University.
It was the second PacWest Conference Championship for the Sea Warriors in three years.

Following the race, four HPU runners were named to the All-Pacific West Conference Team. Brandon Laan, Esben Dalgaard, and Jens Munk Nielsen were named to the first team, while Kevin Enriques rounded out the second team.

On the women’s side, HPU remained competitive throughout the season, but fell short several times. However, the Lady Sea Warriors continued to improve throughout the season and placed third in the PacWest Championships.

Four members from HPU qualified for the all-conference team. Elin Soto-Thompson and Emma Palmer placed on the first team; Jennifer Torres and Quinn Horochuk made the second team.

Both cross country teams qualified for the NCAA Division II Cross Country West Regional Championships held in Nampa, Idaho. Laan led the Sea Warriors to a 12th place finish, and Soto-Thompson performed a career-best for the Lady Sea Warriors, who placed 20th. Neither HPU team qualified for the cross country finals held in Joplin, Mo.

“ Everyone ended the season right,” said women’s Head Coach Laura Aderman.
“ All the work they had put in and improvements they made throughout the season showed in the last race. I am very proud of everyone’s performance.”

Men's soccer
The HPU men’s soccer team experienced many ups and downs in 2007.

The Sea Warriors had a slow start losing their first three games of the season. Despite its disappointing preseason, HPU was able to bounce back and start conference play with a 3-0 record over its local opponents.

HPU continued its season with many matches on the road, struggling in losses to Notre Dame de Namur University and Grand Canyon University, which went on to win its second consecutive PacWest Championship and advance to the NCAA tournament.

In their final game of the season, the Sea Warriors gave Grand Canyon a tough run. Both teams were scoreless in the first half, and each scored a goal in the second. The teams fought hard throughout two overtimes only to end in a tie in HPU’s last home game of the season. After the game, seven seniors were honored for their contributions.

The Sea Warriors finished their season with a conference record of 4-5-1 and an overall record of 6-9-1.

On Dec. 3, the PacWest Conference announced that five HPU players were selected to the All-Conference team. Freshman Linus Ekden of Lidkoping, Sweden was named Co-Newcomer of the year along with Brigham Young University-Hawai‘i’s Brian Noguera. Ekden also received an honors mention, along with senior Michael King.

Senior Thimo Langner and freshman Toni Bakken were named to the first and second team, respectively.

Women's soccer
It was a tough year for the HPU women’s soccer team, and 2008 may be another for most of the players on this young team. Comprised of one junior, two sophomores, and 13 freshmen, the Lady Sea Warriors took on the 2007 season without much experience.

The Lady Sea Warriors finished sixth in the Pacific West Conference with an overall record of 3-15 (2-10 in conference). HPU recorded two wins over Chaminade University and one against Northwood University in the preseason.

Sophomore Jamie Hirai garnered first team honors and freshman Lauren Avenue was named to the second team. Ashley Dolan was named an honorable mention.

After the season ended, Head Coach Mark Kane resigned, and on Jan. 3 HPU named Michele Nagamine as the new head coach for the women’s soccer program.

“ I know first hand how much local talent Hawai‘i has, and it is my personal goal to build HPU women’s soccer into a contender for the PacWest Championship,” said Nagamine.

Women's volleyball
2007 was another rebuilding year for the HPU women’s volleyball team as the Lady Sea Warriors faced their ups and downs. After losing All-American Barbara Martin and five other players from the 2006 season, Head Coach Daryl Kapis recruited nine players to join the seven returnees in 2007.

The Lady Sea Warriors had a run of bad luck in the beginning of the season, losing three players due to a variety of reasons. HPU recruit Rayna Richardson was declared ineligible due to academic issues in the preseason. Defensive specialist Krishelle Mendoza was injured during the first days of practice. Soon after, outside hitter Malia Pires was hurt in a game against Cal State Stanislaus, leaving her on the sidelines for the rest of the season.

As more players found a seat on the bench, the Lady Sea Warriors struggled in the preseason. HPU fought back and forth with opponents, alternating between wins and losses on its schedule and never gaining momentum. It didn’t get any better in conference play.

HPU lost its first three games of the season, but continued to compete, winning five out of its next eight games. But those games weren’t easy for HPU, who was forced to play five consecutive five-game matches. That resilience took a toll on the Lady Sea Warriors, resulting in their losing the final four games of the season. The team ended with a conference record of 4-10, and an overall record of 10-16.

In December, middle blocker Kelly Balanay was named to the PacWest Conference first team, while outside hitter Antje “Red” Buskies was given an honorable mention.



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