BOZEMAN, Mont. – In another highly competitive Big Sky match, Northern Arizona swept doubles and battled for three singles wins to claim a 4-3 victory over Montana State Sunday morning in the Bobcat-Anderson Tennis Center. The Lumberjacks finished second in the Big Sky regular season standings with a 7-1 conference mark, and moved to 12-9 overall, while the Bobcats finished the regular season at 8-10 overall and 5-3 in the Big Sky, finishing fourth in the conference.
As the No. 2 seed, the Lumberjacks will face third-seeded Montana in the semifinals of the Big Sky championship next Saturday back in Bozeman. The Bobcats will play top-seeded Sacramento State in the other semifinal, with the winners to meet next Sunday for the Big Sky championship title. NAU defeated Montana, 4-3, on Saturday in Missoula. The teams also met in the Big Sky championship semifinals last year, with NAU winning 4-2.
After dropping the doubles point on Saturday, NAU bounced back Sunday with a doubles sweep. Sophomore Nicole Perez and senior Aimee Oki started the match with an 8-3 win at No. 3 while seniors Orsi Golovics and Edit Suhajda notched an 8-6 win at No. 1. In the No. 2 doubles match, Lumberjack senior Yumi Hasegawa and sophomore Malia Wahinepio battled for an 8-7 (4) win over Montana State's Andrea De La Torre and Ellie Crum to complete a sweep for the visitors.
Singles play would begin with a pair of wins for Montana State at No. 1 and 3, giving the Bobcats a brief lead before Wahinepio finished a 6-4, 6-2 win over Crum at No. 4. Golovics recorded a 6-2, 7-6 (5) win at No. 2, but De La Torre would defeat Perez in straight sets at No. 5 to tie the match 3-3. In what turned out to be the deciding match at No. 6, Oki would get by MSU's Lucy Fairbotham, 6-3, 6-3, to finish a perfect 8-0 in Big Sky singles play and give NAU the victory.
Northern Arizona's Big Sky championship semifinal match against Montana next Saturday in Bozeman will begin at either 2 p.m. or 8 p.m. depending on if the match can be played outdoors.