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Women’s Tennis Heads to Las Vegas to Begin Fall Season

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona women’s tennis team is set to begin fall tournament play this weekend in Las Vegas at the UNLV Fall Invitational. Joining NAU and the host UNLV Rebels will be competitors from Texas, Missouri, and New Mexico State. The three-day tournament begins Friday at 10 a.m. at the Fertitta Tennis Complex on the UNLV campus.

“We always look forward to traveling to this tournament. There are a lot of tough teams in the field,” said head coach Kim Bruno. “Any wins that we can get, any time we can compete against these players will really help us get better. It’s going to be a good test for our three freshmen as to where they are, and our returners know what is expected of them, so it’s a great opportunity for us to get some big wins and compete against some great teams.”

With temperatures expected to be at or above 100 degrees throughout the tournament, the Lumberjacks will get a good feel for playing in adverse conditions.

“We play our conference tournament in Sacramento in the spring with similar temperatures, and our players know that a lot of the places we go in the fall will be similar,” added Bruno. “It will be a good starting point for us in those conditions to see where we are and where we want to go.”

The Fall Lumberjack squad has just seven players, though that number will be reduced to six this week with junior Edit Suhajda recovering from off-season surgery. That leaves juniors Orsi Golovics, Aimee Oki and Yumi Hasegawa as the only returning players in action, with freshmen Nicole Perez, Ana Mendes and Malia Wahinepio seeing their first-collegiate play this weekend.

“With a small roster, it’s important for the freshmen to prove themselves now for the spring,” continued Bruno. “We’ve seen some awesome potential in practice from the three freshmen, so I’m pretty excited to see how they can compete.”

The competition will be fierce in the desert, as three of the four opposing teams were ranked to end the 2008-09 season. Texas finished at No. 32, and Longhorn Vanja Corovic is currently ranked No. 65 to begin the fall season while the doubles pair of Krista Damico and Amanda Craddock are ranked No. 27. The host Rebels ended the spring at No. 43 nationally and feature senior Kristina Nedeltcheva, currently ranked No. 90 individually. Missouri, which ended the 2008-09 season ranked No. 75, and New Mexico State round out the talented field.

Action begins with quarterfinal singles and semifinal doubles play on Friday, featuring five flights of singles and four flights of doubles, which will include consolation draws.

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