FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona women's tennis rode five singles wins to their second consecutive conference victory and second win of the weekend on Saturday, defeating Montana State, 5-1, at Continental Country Club. The win secured an NAU split with the Bobcats in the two schools' tennis doubleheader after the men's team fell earlier in the day. The Lumberjacks are now 5-1 in the conference and 7-9 overall after their third win in their last four matches.
"We're slowly growing as players and as anyone could see today, these girls came out from the first point fired up and ready to go and that's what it takes," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "They're believing in themselves and they're believing in their games, so it's been a fun weekend for us. They had the will to win."
Due to the length of the men's match earlier in the day, the two teams started with singles play, with doubles to be played if necessary. However, the Lumberjacks made sure that doubles would not be needed, quickly taking the first four matches to seal the victory.
Juniors Nicole Perez and Alice Pacaut dispatched their opponents easily at the No. 5 and 6 spots, dropping just three games between the two of them to give NAU the quick 2-0 advantage. Junior Malia Wahinepio then followed up with a win of her own at No. 3 and freshman Hannah Stone fought her way to a victory at No. 2 to wrap up the match in the Lumberjacks' favor.
After the match had been decided, freshman Johanna Vang dropped her first Big Sky match of her career in three sets to Ellie Crum at No. 4, but junior Ghizelene Doballah ensured a nice ending to the Lumberjacks' day with a three-set victory at the top spot after dropping the first set.
"Our energy level coming out was good and we need to continue to do that because it's a momentum changer," Stone said. "It was huge wins for conference and this is a great start to the weekend where we can come out with a win against Oregon on Monday if we come out with the same energy level."
The Lumberjacks will look to carry the momentum from their two victories the last two days into Monday's match against No. 72 Oregon in Tempe. It will be the Lumberjacks' third match this season at the Whiteman Tennis Center on the Arizona State campus and both previous matches were also against nationally-ranked opponents, No. 59 UC Davis and No. 20 Arizona State. Match time is scheduled for 11 a.m.
"Oregon is a team right in our wheelhouse, a team we can compete with," Bruno said. "We have nothing to lose and coming off a weekend like this where we grew a little bit, we can do nothing but grow some more from this experience or even take the match, which I'm positive we can do."
1. Ghizlene Doballah (NAU) def. Charlotta Hjalmarsson (MSU), 4-6, 6-4, 11-9
2. Hannah Stone (NAU) def. Wena Tsan (MSU), 6-4, 6-4*
3. Malia Wahinepio (NAU) def. Paulina Lopez Trevino (MSU), 6-3, 6-2
4. Ellie Crum (MSU) def. Johanna Vang (NAU), 6-4, 1-6, 10-8
5. Nicole Perez (NAU) def. Andrea De La Torre (MSU), 6-0, 6-2
6. Alice Pacaut (NAU) def. Liana Bates (MSU), 6-0, 6-1
Order of Finish: (5, 6, 3, 2, 4, 1)