FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – For the first time in school history, the Northern Arizona women's tennis team completed a perfect run through conference play with a 6-1 victory over Weber State Saturday morning. By virtue of their Senior Day win at the Aquatic and Tennis Complex, the Lumberjacks wrapped up the regular season with a 17-4 record and an unblemished 11-0 Big Sky mark.
NAU also ensured an outright regular season championship and will head into next week's Big Sky Championships in Phoenix as the No. 1 seed.
"Senior Day is always an emotional day especially when you have three strong seniors who have given so much to this team in terms of leadership and performance," said Director of Tennis Ki Kroll. "We're going to miss them, but we're not finished. We have the Big Sky Championships ahead of us and hopefully a trip to the NCAA (Tournament)."
Seniors Marta Lewandowska, Hailey Rochin and Blanka Szavay were honored prior to the team's regular season finale, and then the 'Jacks went to work. NAU swept doubles play and took the early 1-0 advantage in the match.
Sophomore Hanneke Lodewijks and freshman Brandy Walker claimed the first match at No. 2 doubles, 6-2, and fittingly the senior tandem of Lewandowska and Rochin clinched the doubles point with a 6-3 win at No. 3. Szavay and freshman Chiara Tomasetti closed out with a 6-4 win at No. 1 for the pair's team-best 15th doubles victory.
Singles play had a little bit of everything as NAU initially rolled right through the first three matches to quickly clinch the match. Lodewijks set the tone with a dominating 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 1 before Szavay followed suit with a 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 3. Sophomore Eirene Granville picked up the match-clinching win at No. 6, 6-1, 6-1.
Despite the team score already being decided at 4-0, NAU had to battle in the final three singles matches with Weber State refusing to go quietly into the afternoon. Both Walker and Tomasetti each won their respective first sets with ease, only for their Wildcat opponents to respond and force a decisive third set. In the end, the Lumberjack freshmen would prevail with Walker earning a 6-1, 2-6, 10-2 win at No. 4 and Tomasetti pulling out a 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 win at No. 2. Tomasetti's victory was her seventh straight as she concluded the regular season at an impressive 18-2 in singles.
Weber State claimed its lone win in the final singles match at the No. 5 position. Rochin bounced back from a first set loss with a gritty second set win, but came short in her final home match unfortunately in a 6-2, 5-7, 10-6 defeat.
In addition to a perfect conference record, the Lumberjacks completed an unbeaten home season with a 9-0 record at the Aquatic and Tennis Complex.
"We're in a good position and we've worked really hard," Kroll said. "I know they want to finish this off (at the tournament) and we're going to get great effort from them. It's going to be up to the ladies to compete hard and continue to be the strong team they've been all season."
By virtue of earning the top seed, NAU will receive a bye into the semifinals. The Lumberjacks' first match of the Big Sky Championships will be Friday, April 28. The time and opponent will be announced later.
The 2017 Big Sky Championships will run from April 27-30 at the Phoenix Tennis Center.
- Blanka Szavay/Chiara Tomasetti (NAU) def. Caitlin Herb/Sara Parker (WSU) 6-4
- Hanneke Lodewijks/Brandy Walker (NAU) def. Dominique Beauvais/Tereza Pilzova (WSU) 6-2
- Marta Lewandowska/Hailey Rochin (NAU) def. Morgan Dickason/Devi Hasan (WSU) 6-3
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1
- Hanneke Lodewijks (NAU) def. Tereza Pilzova (WSU) 6-0, 6-1
- Chiara Tomasetti (NAU) def. Caitlin Herb (WSU) 6-2, 3-6, 10-8
- Blanka Szavay (NAU) def. Dominique Beauvais (WSU) 6-0, 6-2
- Brandy Walker (NAU) def. Sara Parker (WSU) 6-1, 2-6, 10-2
- Morgan Dickason (WSU) def. Hailey Rochin (NAU) 6-2, 5-7, 10-6
- Eirene Granville (NAU) def. Devi Hasan (WSU) 6-1, 6-1
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 6*, 4, 2, 5