Women’s tennis splits weekend 1–1, drops match to top-ranked Akron
The NAU women’s tennis team finished the opening weekend of spring break by splitting matches against the University of New Mexico 6–1 and the University of Akron 0–7.
The Jacks (5–9) ended their weekend by welcoming the No. 65 Akron Zips (14–1) to the Continental Country Club and dropped all but one doubles match to the top-ranked team.
Despite the team-score sweep, NAU played Akron closely, but the Zips pulled away in the later sets to win the matches.
The lone Jacks to nab a win were the tandem of true freshmen Hannah Stone and Johanna Vang. The freshmen pulled out the 8–5 win against Akron’s Angelika Jogasuria and Natalia Kuvakina and improved their doubles record to 8–5. Juniors Ghizelene Doballah and Malia Wahinepio matched up against nationally ranked No. 53 team of Zara Harutyunyan and Prang Pantusart and defeated the juniors 8–6. Juniors Alice Pacut and Nicole Perez dropped their doubles match 8–4.
“[Vang and I] just play really comfortably together,” Stone said. “We really complement each other well.”
NAU was swept in straight sets during singles play with two Jacks, Doballah and Vang came within two points during one set of their respective matches and Perez dropped her first set 7–5. The rest of the team had trouble dealing with the Zips as the Jacks could not grab any more than three points through their final stanzas.
“We’re going to have to find the piece to the puzzle to why we can [only] play one good match per weekend,” said head coach Kim Bruno. “We played well at No. 1 doubles and great at No. 2, but overall we didn’t have a team effort. I expected more after a great win [on Saturday], but, unfortunately we played a good team and we didn’t show up to how we needed to play.”
Before the women faced off the Zips, the Lumberjacks bounced back from their first Big Sky loss to the Sacramento State Hornets by topping the University of New Mexico (UNM) 6–1 for the second time in school history, and the first time since 2009.
“We all played how we needed to play today to really get the job done,” Bruno said. “A 6–1 win over this team is really huge for us. We really need to carry this forward into the weekend.”
Despite the Lobos winning two matches, one doubles and one singles, both teams played each other close in the Jacks second non-conference win of the semester.
Stone and Vang claimed the first doubles match 8–5 over the Lobos’ Maria Sablina and Kristin Eggleston. The duo of Doballah and Wahinepio dropped their match 9–8 to Alyssa Caffey and Michaela Bezdickova following a tiebreaker set, with the UNM pair winning 7–4, knotting the doubles score at one match apiece. With the doubles point coming down to Pacut and Perez, the Jacks grabbed the lead and never let go, taking the final doubles match 8–4 and the first point of the match.
“We’ve been in that situation before, where we haven’t won the match but we’ve been up 7–5,” Perez said. “[Pacut and I] just told each other to keep moving forward and take our chances.”
The Jacks nabbed the first singles match when Wahinepio rebounded from her doubles contest and claimed her match in straight sets, 6–4 and 6–2. The Lobos powered back with Bezdickova to beat Doballah in two sets, 6–4 and 6–0, putting UNM within one-point of NAU. Vang finished second for the Jacks with set scores of 7–5 and 6–4. Stone faced UNM’s Susanna Kuuttila on court two and gave NAU the go-ahead match point, clinching the team victory for the Lumberjacks. Perez and Pacut captured wins in their matches, notching their third and sixth season wins, respectively, and icing the Lobos in straight sets.
“I kind of just capitalized on what I was already doing,” Stone said. “I just settled into my game a little bit better and was able to start dominating that game a little bit better, making less mistakes and just figuring it out.”