FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — In what was their toughest match so far this season, the Northern Arizona Women's Tennis team came out on top over defending conference champions the Idaho Vandals in a close 4-3 match. The Lumberjacks were swept 4-0 by Idaho last season in the Big Sky championships, but were able to steal the Vandals' undefeated streak this season increasing to 8-0 in the Big Sky.
"The team fought really hard," Director of Tennis Ki Kroll said. "It was a great win for us over a strong competitor."
Against an evenly matched opponent, the Lumberjacks narrowly clinched the doubles point over Idaho. No. 63 Blanka Szavay and Chiara Tomasetti started off strong for the Lumberjacks picking up their thirteenth doubles win of the season 6-4 on court one. Idaho responded with a 6-4 win on court three over seniors Marta Lewandowska and Hailey Rochin. Now all tied up, Brandy Walker and Hanneke Lodewijks were able to clinch the point 7-5 over Idaho's Ana Batiri and Maria Tavares.
Going into singles 1-0 was just the push Northern Arizona needed to result in the overall victory. The Lumberjacks went up 3-0 almost immediately with wins from Lewandowska and Rochin on courts five and six; however, they were not able to clinch the match right away. Idaho's Marianna Petrei, the reigning Big Sky MVP, helped the Vandals get on the board with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Hanneke Lodewijks. It didn't stop there as Idaho's Lucia Badillos put the Vandals just one point away from a tie at 3-2. Before Idaho even had a chance to clinch, No. 18 Chiara Tomasetti beat Idaho's Jessica Brzozowska 6-1, 7-5 in her third match-clinching victory this season.
Northern Arizona won 4-3 to break the Vandals undefeated conference record. The Lumberjacks will remain in first place and with one more home match left, have gone 8-0 at home.
"The season is not over," said Kroll. "The team has worked really hard to get here and we are consistently working to improve our game."
The Lumberjacks are coming out of this weekend 14-4 overall after adding two doubles wins and three singles wins to their records. Northern Arizona is set to compete against the Montana State Bobcats and the Montana Grizzlies after a full week of practice this week and their final road weekend before the conference tournament. The 'Jacks will first face the Bobcats, who have already clinched a spot in the tournament at 7-0 and is the only other undefeated team in the Big Sky, Saturday, April 15 before competing against the Grizzlies the following day. Both matches are set for 9 a.m.
- Chiara Tomasetti/Blanka Szavay (NAU) def. Marianna Petrei/Lucia Badillos (UI) 6-4
- Brandy Walker/Hanneke Lodewijks (NAU) def. Ana Batiri/Maria Tavares (UI) 7-5
- Jessica Brzozowska/Claire Yang (UI) def. Hailey Rochin/Eirene Granville (NAU) 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2
- Marianna Petrei (UI) def. Hanneke Lodewijks (NAU) 6-4, 6-1
- Chiara Tomasetti (NAU) def. Jessica Brzozowska (UI) 6-1, 7-5
- Lucia Badillos (UI) def. Blanka Szavay (NAU) 6-3, 6-4
- Maria Tavares (UI) def. Brandy Walker (NAU) 6-3, 6-7(4), 10-5
- Marta Lewandowska (NAU) def. Ana Batiri (UI) 6-2, 6-2
- Hailey Rochin (NAU) def. Shion Watabe (UI) 6-2, 6-2
Order of Finish: 5, 6, 1, 3, 2*, 4