Photo Courtesy Shane Dwyer/ASU Athletics
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona women's tennis team wrapped up a grueling weekend to begin the 2013 season with its second match versus a top-40 team on Saturday. Playing in its third match in two days, the Lumberjacks fell 6-1 to No. 37 Arizona State, concluding their weekend at 0-3, but it was not without their share of positives to take away.
"Our singles today were the best we played all weekend," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "We had lots of opportunities and there was one point in the match that ASU was definitely nervous. I thought the girls came out and got better every match that we played and that's all I could ask from them this weekend."
For the first time this season, sophomores Hannah Stone and Johanna Vang were defeated in doubles play, as the ASU team of Ebony Panoho and Nicole Smith knocked off the Lumberjacks' No. 1 pair, 8-3. This followed a Sun Devil victory at No. 3, clinching the doubles point for the home team. With the doubles point decided, the No. 2 doubles match was stopped per new NCAA rules despite seniors Ghizelene Doballah and Nicole Perez being in the hunt for a victory as they were down just 6-5 at the time.
Arizona State took care of the first two completed singles matches at No. 3 and 6 and pushed their lead to 3-0. Needing to win out to take the match, the Lumberjacks were defeated at No. 5 in a three-set match as senior Alice Pacaut came up short of her second victory of the weekend. The Sun Devils proceeded to win the next two singles matches, including another three-setter at No. 1. At the top position, Stone forced Desirae Krawczyk, ranked No. 86 in the nation, to a third-set after dropping the first before falling in the deciding set.
Senior Malia Wahinepio would end NAU's day on a high note, picking up her first win of the season at No. 4 singles. After a tough three-set loss in her previous match against UC Davis on Friday, Wahinepio bounced back to defeat Panoho in straight sets, 7-5, 7-5.
"Coming off a tough three-set loss yesterday, Malia responded with a great win against one of the best teams in the country," Bruno said. "That showed a lot about how we can recover as a team and Malia did that. I'm very proud of her performance today."
The Lumberjacks are off next weekend and will head out to Santa Barbara, Calif. for a doubleheader against UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Community College on Feb. 1.
1. Ebony Panoho/Nicole Smith (ASU) def. Hannah Stone/Johanna Vang (NAU), 8-3*
2. Leighann Sahagun/Joanna Smith (ASU) vs. Ghizelene Doballah/Nicole Perez (NAU), unfinished (ASU leading 6-5)
3. Desirae Krawczyk/Stephanie Vlad (ASU) def. Alice Pacaut/Malia Wahinepio (NAU), 8-1
*Clinched Doubles Point
Order of Finish: (3, 1)
1. No. 86 Krawczyk (ASU) def. Stone (NAU), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
2. Vlad (ASU) def. Doballah (NAU), 6-1, 7-5
3. Sahagun (ASU) def. Vang (NAU), 6-0, 6-4
4. Wahinepio (NAU) def. Panoho (ASU), 7-5, 7-5
5. J. Smith (ASU) def. Pacaut (NAU), 6-0, 1-6, 6-0**
6. Hannah James (ASU) def. Perez (NAU), 6-3, 6-3
Order of Finish: (3, 6, 5, 2, 1, 4)