FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — After clinching a spot in the Big Sky conference tournament with their win over North Dakota last weekend, the Northern Arizona Women's Tennis team is now aiming for a conference title. The Lumberjacks are currently sitting in first place with an undefeated 7-0 Big Sky record over 6-0 Idaho and 5-0 Montana State. This weekend defending regular season champions Northern Arizona will face the defending conference champions Idaho in a match that will break an undefeated streak.
"Idaho is a very strong opponent," Director of Tennis Ki Kroll said. "We will need to come out strong and continue to be aggressive."
Last season, the Lumberjacks lost to Idaho 4-0 in the conference championships. The 7-women Idaho squad is returning Big Sky MVP Marianna Petrei, who is currently leading the Vandals with 12 singles wins and pairing with Lucia Badillos to lead with 10 doubles wins. In addition, she has been honored Big Sky Player of the Week three times already this season. As a sophomore, Petrei and the Vandals will prove a challenging opponent for the blue and gold.
"The team has been pushing each other and working hard all season and we are going into this match ready to compete," said Kroll.
The Lumberjacks have accumulated 35 doubles wins and 66 singles wins this season. The 'Jacks are led in singles by No. 18 regionally ranked freshman Chiara Tomasetti, who has garnered 14 wins this season, going 5-1 in conference. In doubles, Tomasetti pairs with senior Blanka Szavay for 12 overall wins going 5-0 in conference. The pair was just ranked No. 63 in the nation this week by ITA, and was the first Big Sky pair to rank nationally this season.
Northern Arizona will host their only match this weekend against the Vandals Sunday, April 9 at 3 p.m. The match will be held in the Aquatic and Tennis Complex and is free for all who attend. Following this weekend, the Lumberjacks will host for the final time in their senior match April 22 against Weber State.
- The Lumberjacks finished 2016 as regular season champions with an 18-8 overall record and 10-1 in Big Sky Conference play.
- Since Jan. 4, freshman Chiara Tomasetti sits at No. 18 in the Mountain Region singles rankings.
- On Feb. 22 Blanka Szavay was the first Lumberjack named Big Sky Player of the Week in the 2017 season.
- Since April 4, Chiara Tomasetti and Blanka Szavay are nationally ranked No. 63 in doubles.
Match Day: Sunday, April 9
Match Time: 3:00 p.m.
Match Location: Flagstaff, Ariz.
The defending conference champions, the Idaho Vandals, are 10-5 overall and 6-0 in the Big Sky. As one of the three undefeated teams in the conference, Idaho is aiming for a conference title. The Vandals are coming off of a 6-1 win over Sacramento State and will compete against Northern Arizona in their only match of the weekend on Sunday. Led by head coach Babar Akbar, Idaho returns three of the four 2016 all-conference selections in MVP Marianna Petrei, Second Team Maria Tavares and Honorable Mention Lucia Badillos. The Vandals have accumulated 27 doubles wins, going 12-0 in conference, and 52 singles wins so far this season. Following this weekend, the Vandals will compete in three more road matches against Idaho State, Weber State and Utah State before heading to the Big Sky conference tournament.
Northern Arizona has just three matches left this season before competing in the Big Sky conference tournament. The Lumberjacks will travel north to compete against Montana State Friday, April 15 and Montana Sunday, April 16 before hosting for the final time this season. Both matches are set for 9 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 Marta Lewandowska and Hailey Rochin and freshman Chiara Tomasetti who had incredible preseasons. To start the fall, senior Blanka Szavay paired with sophomore Hanneke 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 Eirene Granville. The Lumberjacks finished strong with Tomasetti qualifying for the Round 16 in singles at the ITA Mountain Regionals.