Women’s tennis rematch with Sacramento State appears destined
With sweep of the Montana schools this past weekend, the NAU women’s tennis team has taken control of second place in the Big Sky Conference (BSC) behind nemesis Sacramento State Hornets.
Only the Eastern Washington Eagles and Portland State Vikings remain on the Lumberjacks’ conference schedule. The Eagles and Vikings are a combined 6-22 for the season with a 1-7 conference record. The women’s team is 12-1 all-time against Eastern Washington and 11-0 against Portland State.
A seventh consecutive meeting with the No. 69 nationally ranked Hornets could occur in a potential BSC championship match.
The Hornets have won the past 10 BSC women’s tennis titles and in the process, 87 straight conference matches. The Lumberjacks have fallen to the Hornets the past 20 matches, last emerging victorious back in 2001.
Since director of tennis Kim Bruno took over the women’s program in 2006, the result of each season has been identical. Each year the Lumberjacks have made an appearance in the title match against the Hornets, and each time they were handed a 4-0 defeat.
The two programs have been the pride of the conference for the majority of the past decade. Unfortunately for the Lumberjacks, the Hornets already cruised to a 6-1 victory against them in early March.
The women’s team includes five players with at least seven singles victories and a strong freshman doubles pairing.
Freshman Johanna Vang and junior Alice Pacaut are tied for the team lead in singles victories with eight wins. Juniors Ghizelene Doballah and Malia Wahinepio and freshman Hannah Stone hold seven singles wins each.
Stone and Vang have also created a formidable doubles pairing, leading the team with a 9-5 record together.
This team should continue to grow through the rest of this season and into the next, hopefully giving the program a chance to unseat Sacramento State from their decade long reign. The Lumberjacks have challenged themselves all season, playing six nationally ranked schools on their schedule so far, including the Hornets. Despite losses in each match, playing against that level of competition can only help team.
“We’re gonna have to really start believing in ourselves and doing things a little bit differently for next time we play them,” Bruno said to The Lumberjack following the loss to the Hornets.
Hopefully this is the case, as the two programs are on a collision course to face off again and the Hornets have all the confidence in the world.