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January 22, 2013

Wahinepio Garners Season's First Big Sky POTW Honor

BIG SKY RELEASE (PDF)

OGDEN, Utah – Senior Malia Wahinepio earned the season's first Big Sky Conference women's tennis Player of the Week honor after a successful opening weekend to the 2013 campaign on Tuesday. The conference office honored the Anthem, Ariz. native as she recorded her first singles win of her career over a nationally-ranked squad against No. 37 Arizona State on Saturday.

"She had a tough three-set match against UC Davis that she could've pulled out and for her to respond and clinch against a higher level opponent the next day, the award was well-deserved," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "Malia stepped up, came out focused and competed really well against the No. 37 Pac-12 team."

The Lumberjacks had a grueling schedule to open the season with three matches in two days, including two against ranked Pac-12 squads, and Wahinepio bounced back after a tough season-opening match against No. 29 Arizona. After dropping both her singles and doubles matches versus the Wildcats, Wahinepio responded with a convincing 8-1 win at No. 3 doubles with Alice Pacaut that clinched the doubles point for the Lumberjacks against UC Davis. Playing her final match of the season-opening doubleheader on Friday, she came up a bit short of her first singles win of the season, falling to the Aggies' Ellie Edles in three-sets, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.

That first singles win would not elude her the following day though as she defeated the Sun Devils' Ebony Panoho in straight sets, 7-5, 7-5, at No. 4 singles. The win clinched the Lumberjacks' lone team point in their 6-1 loss to ASU.

The weekly Big Sky honor is the second of Wahinepio's career. Wahinepio, a three-time All-Big Sky performer, was named the conference's Player of the Week once as a sophomore in 2011.

"We didn't clinch any wins as a team, but I think this proves that we had some mini individual accomplishments throughout the weekend," Bruno said.

The Lumberjack women are off from competition this week before a doubleheader on Feb. 1 against UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Community College in Santa Barbara, Calif.