Women’s tennis takes control of second place in Big Sky with pair of weekend conference wins
The NAU women’s tennis team (7–10, 5–1 Big Sky Conference) swept a pair of home conference matches this past weekend before traveling to Phoenix on Monday, where the team fell to the No. 72 ranked University of Oregon Ducks (9–5).
NAU dropped the match to Oregon 6–1, falling behind early when they were swept in three doubles matches. The Ducks went on to win the first four singles matches to clinch the match early on.
The lone Lumberjack point came from junior Alice Pacaut who took her match in a third set super tiebreaker 6–1, 4–6 and 10–3. The win gave Pacaut eight singles victories on the year to tie her with freshman Johanna Vang for the team lead.
On Saturday afternoon, the Lumberjacks downed the Montana State University (3–8, 1–1 BSC) Bobcats 5–1, with the teams forgoing doubles play due to the men’s match running an hour longer than expected. The doubles matches were only to be held if the teams were tied 3–3 after completing singles play.
Additionally, the number five and number six positions moved their matches to the Fieldhouse at NAU’s campus in an attempt to finish the match before dark. Both junior Nicole Perez and Pacaut finished their matches in the Fieldhouse quickly, with scores of 6–0, 6–2, 6–0 and 6–1 respectively.
“This weekend, if anyone came out here and saw it, these girls came out from the first point, fired up, ready to go and that’s what it takes,” said director of tennis Kim Bruno.
With NAU up 2–0 on MSU after the wins at the Fieldhouse, the Lumberjacks clinched the win with straight set victories by junior Malia Wahinepio and freshman Hannah Stone 6–3, 6–2 and 6–4, 6–4, respectively, before finishing the match 5–1.
Wahinepio and junior Ghizelene Doballah improved to 5–1 in conference singles play with their victories against Montana State.
“Individually, I had to think positive. We had some readings and stuff that coach made us do,” Wahinepio said. “I really had to take into account that I have to focus in my match and just stay positive.”
NAU’s only loss of the day ended Vang’s perfect record in Big Sky singles play, dropping her to 5–1 as well.
The other two of Wahinepio’s wins came against the University Montana Grizzlies (9–7, 3–2 BSC) Friday afternoon at Continental Country Club.
“It was a huge weekend for all of us,” Wahinepio said. “I have to say congratulations to all of our girls; we all fought individually and as a team.”
The Lumberjacks edged out the Grizzlies 4–3, sweeping doubles play and taking the first three singles matches to clinch the victory.
Montana went on to win the final three singles matches, two in super tiebreakers, to make the match’s final total closer than it was. With the win, NAU has taken the past ten matches against Montana.
“They’re believing in themselves they’re believing in their games now and they’re growing up as players and it was a fun weekend for us,” Bruno said. “They had the will to win; they had that fire in their belly, which was missing in the men’s match.”