LAS CRUCES, N.M. – In the second match of three in three days, the Northern Arizona women's tennis team could not carry their momentum gained from winning the doubles point into singles play. As a result, the Lumberjacks fell to 1-2 on the season following its 6-1 loss to Air Force at the NMSU Tennis Center on Saturday.
"Air Force is known for doubles play and for us to win that point was huge," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "We just didn't know how to carry that momentum into our singles. Air Force is one of those schools that is going to fight until the end, they scrap for every point and we couldn't out-compete them in our singles matches today. They straight out-competed us and the score shows it."
Air Force entered Saturday's match a collective 7-2 in doubles play through its first three matches and took the first match of the best-of-three doubles at No. 3 to begin Saturday's play. However, the junior pair of Nicole Perez and Malia Wahinepio evened play after winning at No. 1, leaving it up to the freshmen duo of Hannah Stone and Johanna Vang. The stellar freshmen pair didn't let the Lumberjacks down, claiming their third straight doubles win of the early season, earning a tough fought 8-5 victory at No. 2 over Air Force's Hannah Dake and Anastasia Hueffner to propel NAU to a 1-0 advantage in the match.
But the Falcons breezed through singles play, winning the first four completed matches in straight sets and clinched the match when Christine Molina defeated Stone at No. 2. Wahinepio and junior Ghizelene Doballah endured three sets apiece in their respective matches, but were unable to secure wins at No. 1 and 3 despite first set victories in each.
The Lumberjacks wrap up their weekend schedule tomorrow when they return to the courts in Las Cruces to take on the host school New Mexico State. The Aggies are 1-3 this season and are coming off a 6-1 defeat at the hands of Air Force as well on Friday. The match is scheduled for a 10 a.m. start.
1. Nicole Perez/Malia Wahinepio (NAU) def. Melissa Cecil/Tahlia Smoke (AFA), 8-5
2. Hannah Stone/Johanna Vang (NAU) def. Hannah Dake/Anastasia Hueffner (AFA), 8-5*
3. Christine Molina/Tiffany Tran (AFA) def. Ghizelene Doballah/Alice Pacaut (NAU), 8-2
*Clinched Doubles Point
Order of Finish: (3, 1, 2)
1. Cecil (AFA) def. Doballah (NAU), 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 11-9
2. Molina (AFA) def. Stone (NAU), 6-3, 6-0**
3. Tran (AFA) def. Wahinepio (NAU), 4-6, 7-5, 10-3
4. Smoke (AFA) def. Vang (NAU), 6-2, 6-4
5. Dake (AFA) def. Perez (NAU), 6-3, 6-1
6. Natasha Rizvi (AFA) def. Pacaut (NAU), 6-3, 6-1
Order of Finish: (5, 4, 6, 2, 3, 1)