SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Northern Arizona picked up a critical doubles point and won three singles matches to edge Montana, 4-2, in a Big Sky Championship semifinal match on Saturday morning at Gold River Racquet Club. The win sends Northern Arizona to its fifth-consecutive Big Sky Championship final on Sunday, where the Lumberjacks will again meet No. 51 Sacramento State after the Hornets blasted Montana State, 4-0, in the other semifinal.
Saturday's contest started out well for the Lumberjacks, who had Orsi Golovics available after the junior missed the last-four matches of the regular season. Golovics teamed with freshman Malia Wahinepio for an 8-3 win at No. 1, while junior Aimee Oki and freshman Nicole Perez clinched the doubles point with an 8-3 victory at No. 2. NAU had a 7-5 lead at No. 3 but the match was not concluded after the Lumberjacks clinched the point.
Junior Edit Suhajda earned a 7-5, 6-1 win over Montana's Rebecca Bran at No. 1 to open singles play. A 6-2, 6-3 win from junior Yumi Hasegawa at No. 5 put the Lumberjacks one point away from a victory, but Montana wins at No. 2 and 3 brought the team score to 3-2. The match would be clinched at No. 6, where Perez rallied to defeat Montana's Cara Lehman, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1) to give Northern Arizona the victory. Wahinepio and the Grizzlies' Amanda Bran had their match at No. 4 called when the Lumberjacks secured the team win.
Sacramento State and Northern Arizona will be meeting in the Big Sky Championship final for the fifth consecutive season. The squads met last weekend in Flagstaff with the Hornets claiming a 6-1 win to complete an undefeated conference season. Sacramento State's win on Saturday was its 71st consecutive Big Sky victory and the Hornets have won eight-consecutive Big Sky Championship titles.
Sunday's championship match begins at 10 a.m., with the winner earning at automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Live stats from the Big Sky final will be available via the above link from Hornetsports.com.