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February 10, 2012

Women's Tennis Ready for Weekend Pair in Colorado

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – After mixed results on last weekend's three-match road trip, the Northern Arizona women's tennis team will look to put it all together with matches at Northern Colorado on Saturday and Colorado State on Sunday. The Lumberjacks (1-3) are coming off a 1-2 stretch last weekend, which saw good singles and good doubles play, but not all in the same match.

"One day the doubles was there for us and the singles kind of lacked, and the next day our singles was there and our doubles wasn't," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "It's going to be really important for us to play really well in both of those. We're coming off a long road trip, but the girls are mentally ready for this weekend. They're starting to buy in to what it's going to take to win some of these matches."

The Lumberjacks began last weekend with a hard-fought 4-3 victory at UTEP, but followed that up with losses against two regional opponents, Air Force and New Mexico State. Freshman Johanna Vang posted a team-high two singles wins and was one of five players to record at least one victory in singles play. Vang also led the team with two doubles victories along with freshman partner Hannah Stone to pace the NAU doubles attack.

Last weekend also marked the return of junior Ghizelene Doballah to the lineup, where she immediately stepped into the top spot in the NAU lineup. Doballah recorded her first win of the season against UTEP at No. 1, just one of four other Lumberjacks to claim their first wins during the weekend. Junior Malia Wahinepio's win against UTEP at No. 3 clinched the NAU victory, while junior Alice Pacaut and Stone each earned their first wins in the Lumberjack blue and white.

Northern Colorado welcomes NAU to its home court coming off a 6-1 win over Eastern Washington last Sunday in its Big Sky opener. The Bears currently sport a 1-2 overall record and are atop the standings by virtue of defeating the Eagles since the two squads are the only teams to play a conference match thus far. Northern Colorado does have the Big Sky's leading doubles team in Stephanie Catlin and Elizabeth Tapia, who are 3-0 at No. 1 this season. Their three wins are only matched by Stone and Vang's three doubles victories in the conference.

"It's very important to get a win in your first conference match especially if your goal is to be the top team in the Big Sky," Bruno said. "That first win is enormous and it puts you in a better standing to begin the season."

Colorado State is 1-1 this season and will play in-state rival Colorado before hosting the Lumberjacks on Sunday. The Rams enter the weekend on a high note after defeating Arkansas State, 4-3, last Friday. Kaley Schultz and Natalie Heffron are both 2-0 in singles play to lead the Rams, but Colorado State has struggled in doubles play, going just 1-5 as a team through its first two matches.

The Lumberjacks have won the last seven times they've played Northern Colorado and are 8-2 all-time against their Big Sky foe. NAU last played Colorado State in 2010, where it lost 5-2, but still holds the all-time edge 3-2 over the Rams.

NAU and Northern Colorado will kick off the Big Sky tennis doubleheader on Saturday at 10 a.m. in Greeley, Colo. before giving way to the men's teams at 2 p.m. The women will then head to Fort Collins, Colo. for their match with Colorado State beginning at 9 a.m.