BOZEMAN, Mont. – For the sixth-consecutive year, Sacramento State claimed the doubles point and three singles wins in straight sets to sweep Northern Arizona, 4-0, in the final match of the Big Sky championship. The Lumberjacks ended their season with a 13-10 overall record, while Sunday's match was also the final collegiate competition for a quartet of outstanding NAU seniors.
"There was no lack of effort from us today, we gave everything we had," said NAU director of tennis Kim Bruno. "We didn't get back to the hotel until 2:45 this morning after the Montana match, so the girls were trying but their legs just weren't there. We were so excited about the semifinal win that we had the energy to play again, but we just couldn't overcome them."
The Hornets claimed their 10th straight Big Sky championship and will again represent the conference in the NCAA Tournament. Sunday's win was also Sacramento State's 82nd consecutive victory against Big Sky opponents, a span of more than 10 seasons of conference domination.
After NAU played into early Sunday morning to get by Montana in the semifinal round, the weary Lumberjacks went to work less than 12 hours later in playing for the conference title. The Hornets jumped to a 1-0 lead by taking the doubles point, as Sacramento State picked up an 8-2 win at No. 1 and an 8-4 victory at No. 2. The NAU tandem of senior Aimee Oki and sophomore Nicole Perez had a 6-5 lead in the No. 3 match when the point was clinched for the Hornets.
In singles play, Sacramento State was able to double its lead with a 6-2, 6-0 win from No. 103 Tatsiana Kapshai over NAU senior Edit Suhajda at No. 1. Sacramento State's Clarisse Baca followed with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Lumberjack sophomore Malia Wahinepio at No. 4, while Hornet sophomore Rebeca Delgado finished off a 6-3, 6-3 win over NAU senior Orsi Golovics at No. 2 to clinch the Sacramento State victory. The Hornets had a first set win at No. 3 and were leading in the first set at No. 5 when the match was decided. The No. 6 singles match did not begin.
Despite the loss, NAU completed another outstanding season in 2011, finishing with double-digit wins for the sixth consecutive season while also reaching the conference championship match for the sixth straight year. All six NAU starters recorded at least nine singles wins, while all three primary doubles pairs also finished the year with winning records. The senior class of Golovics, Oki, Suhajda and Yumi Hasegawa leave NAU among the premiere classes in program history, as the four have combined for seven All-Big Sky selections with additional honors likely to follow this week.