NAU tennis goes 1–2 on the road, prepares for Big Sky matches
By Raymond Reid
The NAU women’s tennis team faced a road test this past weekend playing in back-to-back-to-back matches against The University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), Air Force Academy and New Mexico State University (NMSU).
“If I had to grade them, it would be fluctuating between a C and a B,” said head coach Kim Bruno. “We had some good moments.”
On Sunday, the Lumberjacks faced off against NMSU, falling just short of a win with a final team score of 4–3. The freshmen pair of Johanna Vang and Hannah Stone saw their doubles-play win streak end against Aggies Denise Van Der Ben and Manon Sylvain, losing 9–7. In the singles events, NAU responded with victories from Stone, (6–3,6–1); Vang (6–4,6–3) and junior Alice Pacaut (6–1,4–6,6–3) but could not rally for the victory and dropped the match by one point..
“We don’t have any easy matches in our schedule . . . it really depends on how we respond for sure,” Bruno said.
The match against Air Force, which was played in Las Cruces, New Mexico ended in similar fashion, just not as close. The Lumberjacks fell to the Falcons 6–1, with the doubles matches being the only point registered. The doubles-pair of juniors Malia Wahinepio and Nicole Perez won their match 8–5. The freshmen duo of Vang and Stone were victorious, bringing their win streak to three matches with a score of 8–5.
“I feel like on Friday we had a great win against UTEP, we played well and it paid off,” Vang said. “Yesterday [Saturday] we just were outcompeted, just lost those easy points.”
In the singles portion of the match, the Lumberjacks were swept by the Falcons in allsix matches, with Doballah forcing, an winning, a tie breaker set in the second, but falling in three to Air Force’s Melissa Cecil (4–6, 7–6 (8–6), 11–9).
“We’re growing stronger and stronger as a team with every match we play,”Vang said.
The weekend tilt started off with a 4–3 victory over UTEP, the team’s first win of the season. Stone and Vang were triumphant in their doubles match winning 8–2. Juniors Ghizelene Doballah and Alice Pacaut claimed their doubles match by the same score, securing the doubles point for the Jacks.
In singles play, Doballah (7–6, retired); Wahinepio (2–6,6–4,7–5) and Vang (4–6,6–1,7–1) were victorious in their matches.
“It pushes us to work ten times harder and cheer for each other,” Wahinepio said. “It helped us open our eyes, the harder we work . . . the more we will come together.”
The Lumberjacks are at 1–3 on the season, and will soon be heading into conference play. The next match for the women’s tennis team is a conference match this Saturday on the road at Northern Colorado.