Junior players deliver for North Team


Sean Lee, seen here making a return during a local tournament, won both his singles and doubles matches against the West in the team competition in the 2018 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships yesterday in Fiji. (Contributed Photo)

Simin Woo, Seung Jin Paik, and Hyejin Elliot handed the North Team a pair of wins at the start of the team competition in the 2018 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships last Monday in Fiji.

Woo and Paik won the first doubles match in the U14 division between the North and West squads as they swept Vanuatu’s Noah Molbaleh and New Caledonia’s Tiago Lopez, 4-1, 4-2. Elliot, on the other hand, played in the last singles game and outlasted Fiji’s Charlotte Nicolaus, 5-4 (14), 2-4, 10-7.

The CNMI-dominated North Team fell to the West, 3-11. Guam’s Kaia Malakooti gave the North the other win in the girls singles play after prevailing over Vanuatu’s Naomi Sipiti, 5-3, 4-1.

In the men’s singles, Woo and Paik also saw action in the girls singles with the former losing to Storm Cornish of Fiji, 4-2, 3-5, 11-9, and the latter bowing to Maka Ofati, also from Fiji, 0-4, 0-4.

Coume Kaga was the other CNMI U14 player that competed in both the singles and doubles events. The Solomon Islands’ Zorika Morgan topped Kaga in the singles match, 4-1, 5-3, and then paired with compatriot Hannah Wright in downing the CNMI player and the Federated States of Micronesia’s Ridianne Wolphagen, 4-0, 4-1.

In the mixed doubles, Coume partnered with Woo and they were defeated by Cornish and Morgan, 5-4 (5), 4-1. The North also lost the other mixed doubles event with Ofati and the Solomon Islands’ Prudence Bird slipping past Paik and Malakooti, 5-4 (6), 4-0.

The North will have its last game in the team event today when it takes on the East. The East won over the West yesterday, 8-6, and will need another victory to rule the U14 age group.

In the U12 division, the East also topped the West after posting a convincing 11-2 win last Monday. The East then shut down the North yesterday, 14-0, to clinch the division championship. The North and West collide today to fight for the runner-up honors in the age group.

In the U16 division, the East and West will square off today for the championship. The East coasted past the North last Monday, 11-3, while the West defeated the latter in similar scores, 11-3.

Malika Miyawaki and Ken Song gave the North the victories. Miyawaki blanked Samoa’s Chrystal Christman, 4-0, 4-0, while Song outclassed the latter’s compatriot Warren Phillip, 0-4, 4-2, 10-3. FSM’s Anne Skilling handed North the other win after beating Samoa’s Luisa Tuasi’l, 4-1, 4-0.

Against the West, Sean Lee won two matches, while Maria Gregoire recorded one. Lee topped Vanuatu’s Ware Tigona, 4-2, 4-1, and partnered with Guam’s Marshall Zang in sweeping the Solomon Islands’ Joel Riju and Junior Micky, 4-1, 4-2. Gregoire prevailed over Fiji’s Kajol Chand, 4-1.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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