April 26, 2012

Women's Tennis Places Top Four on All-Big Sky Teams

BIG SKY RELEASE (PDF)

OGDEN, Utah – The top four players in the Northern Arizona women's tennis lineup were selected to the All-Big Sky teams by the conference coaches on Thursday. Junior Ghizelene Doballah and freshman Hannah Stone were voted to the first team and junior Malia Wahinepio and freshman Johanna Vang were named honorable mention selections. It is the sixth consecutive year which the Lumberjacks placed at least four players on the All-Conference teams.

"They've done a great job all season and these accolades are well-deserved for all by all of the girls," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "I'm extremely proud to have coached them this season and see them grow into the players they are currently."

Doballah, playing in her first season at NAU after redshirting a year ago, competed the entire season at the No. 1 spot for the Lumberjacks. The Oran, Algeria native compiled a 9-13 at the top of the NAU lineup in a successful debut season. Doballah was extremely strong in three-set matches, going 4-1 in matches that went the distance.

Speaking of impressive debuts, Stone and Vang were integral parts in helping the Lumberjacks post their seventh consecutive double-digit win season. Stone, a native of Temecula, Calif., played all but one match this season at the No. 2 spot in the lineup behind Doballah with a 10-12 record. After starting the season winless in her first three collegiate matches, Stone responded with a five-match winning streak from Feb. 5-19 including three straight three-set wins in the middle of that streak.

Vang was equally as impressive as Stone serving primarily as the Lumberjacks No. 4 singles player. Vang, of Sollentuna, Sweden, tied for the team-lead with 11 singles wins in her first season and finished the season with a three-match winning streak. She also claimed the team's only point against Sacramento State in the Lumberjacks' regular season loss to the 11-time defending Big Sky champions.

Wahinepio, one of only two returning starters to begin the season, was one of two other players, along with junior Alice Pacaut, to finish the season tied with Vang for tops on the team with 11 wins. Like Vang, the Anthem, Ariz. native, concluded the season on a high note with a four-match winning streak, including the team's lone singles win against Montana in the Big Sky Championship semifinals. Wahinepio played in the No. 3 spot in the Lumberjack lineup.

The quartet combined for a 41-46 record and a sparkling 27-5 record against conference opponents. In addition to holding down the top four singles positions, the four players formed the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles pairings. Stone and Vang carried their individual successes to doubles play as the freshman duo posted an outstanding 13-6 mark in doubles action.

Wahinepio's All-Conference selection was the third of her career following appearances on the second team in each of her first two seasons, while the All-Conference honors were the first of their careers for Doballah, Stone and Vang. Doballah also received the team's only Player of the Week honor earlier this season.

The Lumberjacks will return all six of their starters from this year's 10-13 squad in 2012-13 as they'll aim to end Sacramento State's 11-year grip on the Big Sky.