Women’s tennis drops home opener, unlucky in Sin City
The NAU women’s tennis team experienced its first three-match losing streak, dropping matches to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), the University of Nevada, Reno and Big Sky powerhouse Sacramento State University (SSU).
“We knew we had to come out at a high level of competition,” said head coach Kim Bruno. “When you play nationally ranked teams like we did prior to coming into here, that’s what we have to play. Did we do it today [against Sacramento State], no, I don’t think so.”
The Jacks (4–8, 3–1 Big Sky Conference) welcomed SSU (8–5, 4–0 BSC) to their new home at Continental Country Club and battled for Big Sky (BSC) dominance. NAU lost its first home match of the season 6–1.
Sac State, the defending BSC champions, have not lost to NAU since 2001, and holds an all-time record of 15–2 over the Lumberjacks.
“Is this a team that blew us away, absolutely not,” Bruno said. “We’re gonna have to really start believing in ourselves and doing things a little bit differently for next time we play them.”
The Jacks struggled against the SSU in doubles play, with the tandem of redshirt junior Ghizelene Doballah and junior Alice Pacut topping the Hornets Katharina Knoebl and Sophie Lohscheidt 8–2. Sac State won the other two matches 8–0 and 8–4, and claimed the first match point of the day. True freshmen Johanna Vang and Hannah Stone attempted to rally against Maria Meliuk and Clarisse Baca to overcome a 6–1 deficit to close within 2-points before the Hornets duo scored two more points for the 8–4 victory.
“Personally, I thought I did good in doubles,” Doballah said. “I think it was my best doubles since I started playing.”
When the two squads went head-to-head in singles play, the Hornets won five of the six match-ups, and Vang nabbed the lone NAU win over Knoebl in straight sets, 6–1 and 6–2. Junior Malia Wahinepio came the closest to walking away with another team point for the Jacks, although she lost to Rebeca Delgado in straight sets by scores of 7–5 and 6–4.
“She was struggling a bit with her serve [because of the altitude],” Vang said. “I played well. I played aggressive.”
NAU ended their road-trip to Sin City with a 6–1 loss to the Nevada Wolf Pack (3–4 overall).
Pacaut teamed with Stone for the first time to pull out the Jacks lone doubles win against Gabriela Eufrasio and Sophie Stevens 8–6. Pacaut carried that momentum into her singles match against Rymma Maslova, defeating her in consecutive sets with scores of 7–5 and 6–3. Wahinepio and junior Alice Walker forced a third set in their losses to the Wolf Pack.
The Jacks began their journey against the Rebels of UNLV (8–4 overall), getting blown out 7–0. UNLV claimed the doubles point with victories on all three courts with scores of 8–3, 8–3 and 8–2. The Rebels swept the Lumberjacks in singles play as well, with Stone and Pacaut forcing tiebreaker sets in their matches. The Lumberjacks play New Mexico on March 10 at Contiental Country Club at 11 a.m.