It was a last-minute decision that turned into a solid run at a state tournament.
After just having one practice session at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Steven Kaui and Philip Eliana partnered up as the only team to represent Kauai at the Hawaii State Doubles Racquetball Championships at the Maui Family YMCA in Kahului over the weekend.
“We’ve never played together as a doubles team in competition especially that we’re both right-side court players so we knew it would be a challenge,” Eliana said. “But since it’s been three years since the closing of the KAC courts and also the last time Kauai was represented at the state championships, we decided to end our 2014 competitive season by going to this tournament.”
They didn’t win, but they came oh so close.
Not only did they surprise themselves, but surprised everyone at the tournament by making it to the semi-finals in the top level open division, with a tiebreaker loss and taking second place in the over 45-plus age division — two divisions below what they would normally play in since they are both 55.
The talents of the two players complemented each other.
Kaui is an experienced doubles player who made it to the quarter finals in singles and the semi-finals in doubles at the recent Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah last month. He played the backhand side. His deep Z serves and aggressive power-game style complements the offensive left-side court play.
Eliana, a member of the US All Air Force Racquetball Team, won the summer PMRF racquetball tournament. He played the forehand side. His high lob serves and precision-control style game of corner shots complements the defensive right-side court play.
“It was a great tournament and to beat teams that play with each other on a daily basis and specifically practice all year long for this event is pretty sweet,” Eliana said. “However, to finally go to this event representing Kauai as a team and as top players and coming in second place is totally awesome.”