FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University women's tennis team will head to California to start conference play this weekend against 2016 co-regular season champions Sacramento State and take on non-conference opponent San Francisco. NAU is coming off of their first home match and first win of the season 5-2 over Grand Canyon. The Lumberjacks are 1-2 with losses against UC Davis and Arizona.
"Playing Sac State is always a big match for us, and we've prepared very hard to be ready for them," said Director of Tennis Ki Kroll. "It's always tough playing at another team's home, but I feel good about our chances. We're ready to go."
Northern Arizona and Sacramento State both finished the 2016 season at the top going 10-1 in Big Sky Conference play. Sac State lost to Idaho in the semifinal of the conference tournament, while Northern Arizona lost to Idaho in the championship.
This season, the Lumberjacks are building on their momentum after an all-around great performance against Grand Canyon at home. NAU is looking to start conference strong this year after being ranked second in the preseason poll only behind Sac State by two points.
After Sac State, the Lumberjacks will face the San Francisco Dons who are 1-4 overall with their lone win over UC Irvine. USF has lost to Sac State, UC Davis, Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State.
Match time against the Sac State Hornets is set for 12:30 p.m. at the Spare Time Indoor Tennis Center Feb. 18. The following day, the Lumberjacks are set to take on San Francisco Feb. 19 at 4 p.m.
- The Lumberjacks finished 2016 as regular season champions with an 18-8 overall record and 10-1 in Big Sky Conference play.
- As of Jan. 4, freshman Chiara Tomasetti sits at No. 18 in the Mountain Region singles rankings.
Match Day: Saturday, Feb. 18
Match Time: 12:30 p.m.
Match Location: Sacramento, Calif.
The Sac State Hornets are 1-6 and on a six-game losing streak after taking on defending national champion No. 4 Stanford. The Hornets have lost to Fresno State, UC Davis, Arizona, UTEP, Stanford and Nevada. Last time the Sac State took on NAU, they lost 3-4 in Flagstaff.
Led by acting head coach Clarisse Baca, the Hornets roster includes three-time Big Sky Women's Player of the Week junior Ana Loaiza Esquivias who has received all three honors in just four weeks of play. Including Esquivias, the Hornets also include returning all-conference athletes Alina Soltanici, Deimante Bulatovaite and Anna-Maria Nau.
Match Day: Sunday, Feb. 19
Match Time: 4 p.m.
Match Location: San Francisco, Calif.
The San Francisco Dons are 1-4 overall after losing to Sac State, UC Davis, Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State. The Dons picked up their lone win against UC Irvine in a close 4-3 match. The last time San Francisco took on NAU was in a 7-0 sweep in 2013.
Led by head coach Hilary Somers, the Dons young roster only includes one senior Genevieve McCloskey. San Francisco went 6-13 overall and 4-5 as a member of the West Coast Conference.
Northern Arizona will host Southern Utah and Portland State, Feb. 25 and Feb. 26, respectively. The Lumberjacks will have one conference match under their belt before going into this weekend. Match time against the SUU Thunderbirds is set for Feb. 25 at 10 a.m. The 'Jacks will then take on the PSU Vikings Feb. 26 at 10 a.m.
Northern Arizona competed in five fall tournaments at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University of Arizona, ITA Mountain Regionals in Albuquerque, N.M., Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University. All seven Lumberjacks played this fall, with standout seniors Lewandowska and Hailey Rochin and freshman Tomasetti who had incredible preseasons. To start the fall, senior Szavay paired with sophomore Lodewijks for a doubles win in their first match at the UNLV Invitational. Lewandowska came up with two singles wins and finished 2-1 in doubles with freshman Brandy Walker. Walker picked up a third-place finish in singles for the first time as a Lumberjack in that tournament. At Arizona, the Lumberjacks posted a 9-7 singles record and a notable 7-1 doubles record, including two singles wins for Lewandowska, Tomasetti and sophomore Granville. The Lumberjacks finished strong with Tomasetti qualifying for the Round 16 in singles at the ITA Mountain Regionals.