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Women's Tennis Singles Rally Comes Up Short in 4-3 Loss to NMSU

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Northern Arizona women's tennis team dropped its second straight match of the weekend on Sunday, 4-3 to New Mexico State at the NMSU Tennis Center, despite a rally in singles play. The Lumberjacks concluded the weekend with a 1-2 record and is now 1-3 this season entering their Big Sky opener against Northern Colorado on Saturday.

"I would've prefer to be 3-0 this weekend and not 1-2, but I think we made some strides in singles play and we played unbelievable doubles for the majority of the weekend," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "I think come Northern Colorado, we're going to be in a better position than we have been. There weren't as many negatives compared to positives this weekend even though we didn't come up with all of the victories we would've wanted to."

The Lumberjacks got off to a slow start to the match, falling in all three doubles matches, including freshmen Hannah Stone and Johanna Vang's first doubles loss of the season. New Mexico State's Denise Van Der Ben then began singles play by defeating junior Malia Wahinepio at No. 2, 6-1, 6-1, to give the Aggies the 2-0 edge in the match.

Stone, playing in her first singles match of the season at No. 3, responded though and earned her first collegiate singles win, 6-3, 6-1, over Ginet Pinero to pull the Lumberjacks within one in the match. Vang then followed her fellow freshman and evened the match at 2-2 with a win at No. 5.

The Aggies would grab a win at No. 1 though to once again pull ahead 3-2 and clinched the match when Natalia Salum defeated junior Nicole Perez in a tight match at No. 4, 7-6, 7-6. Junior Alice Pacaut wrapped up the match with a three-set victory at No. 6, but it wouldn't be enough for the Lumberjacks on Sunday. Like Stone, Pacaut's win was also her first in singles play this season.

"Some other people stepped up in singles today and going into next match we're playing a little better singles," Bruno said. "We got three singles wins today which we struggled to get yesterday, unfortunately we couldn't get that doubles point today and finish. We just need to get our singles and doubles going on the same day."

The Lumberjacks will continue their season next weekend with a pair of matches in the state of Colorado, beginning with their first conference match of the season in Greeley versus the Bears on Saturday.

Results:

Doubles:

1. Natalia Salum/Jodie Williams (NMSU) def. Nicole Perez/Malia Wahinepio (NAU), 8-3

2. Manon Sylvain/Denise Van Der Ben (NMSU) def. Hannah Stone/Johanna Vang (NAU), 9-7

3. Ros-Polly Nguyen/Ginet Pinero (NMSU) def. Ghizelene Doballah/Alice Pacaut (NAU), 8-5*

*Clinched Doubles Point

Order of Finish: (1, 3, 2)

Singles:

1. Sylvain (NMSU) def. Doballah (NAU), 6-4, 6-0

2. Van Der Ben (NMSU) def. Wahinepio (NAU), 6-1, 6-1

3. Stone (NAU) def. Pinero (NMSU), 6-3, 6-1

4. Salum (NMSU) def. Perez (NAU), 7-6, 7-6**

5. Vang (NAU) def. Nguyen (NMSU), 6-4, 6-3

6. Pacaut (NAU) def. Annemieke Witte (NMSU), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3

**Clinched Match

Order of Finish: (2, 3, 5, 1, 4, 6)