LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Three members of the Northern Arizona women's tennis team began the fall season this past weekend at the Aggie Invitational and came away with impressive results. Senior Alice Pacaut and junior Tatum Rochin combined to go 7-2 in singles play, while senior Alice Walker notched two singles victories of her own at the New Mexico State-hosted tourney. Among the other schools competing were NMSU, New Mexico, UTEP and a number of Division II squads.
"It's always great to start the fall and get a ton of matches under our belt," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "I would have to say that the standout of the weekend was Alice (Pacaut). She played some great tennis going 4-1 in singles. The scores don't show it, but she played really well against the girl that ended up winning the tournament. Overall from our first matches to our last matches, all of them played better tennis, got a little more confidence and that's the point of fall tournaments."
Pacaut and Walker started the tournament in the Crimson singles draw. While Walker dropped her opening match to Melanie Barnes of Tarleton State, Pacaut knocked off Alexandra Khadhzyan of St. Edward's, 6-1, 6-0, to move onto the second round on Friday. In the second round though, she ran into Martina Trieweiler of UTEP where Pacaut would fall into the consolation matches via a 6-3, 6-3 loss. Trieweiler would go on to win the tournament on Sunday. Meanwhile, Rochin, making her debut for NAU after spending two years at Pima Community College, won her first match in the White singles draw in three sets, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, over Madelyn Walker of Abilene Christian. However, like Pacaut, Rochin was unable to make it out of the second round as she fell to New Mexico's Michaela Oldani.
In the consolation matches, the Lumberjacks shined as the three players went a combined 7-2 outside of the main draw. Pacaut won all three of her matches on Saturday and Sunday without dropping a set. Rochin defeated Ivana Zecevic of Tarleton State in a tough three-setter, 5-7, 6-1, 10-8, as one of her two wins to conclude the tournament, while Walker earned victories over UTEP's Anastasiya Sylenko and UT Permian Basin's Shelby Green.
Pacaut and Rochin teamed up in doubles play and went 2-2 over the weekend. They dropped their opening match to a duo from St. Edward's, but responded with victories over two pairs from Tarleton State sandwiched around another defeat. With an odd number of NAU players, Walker was paired with Maria Sablina of New Mexico and the duo compiled a 2-1 record.
This weekend, the other four members of the NAU squad will head to the UNLV Fall Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. to compete in their first matches of the fall. Seniors Ghizelene Doballah and Malia Wahinepio and sophomores Hannah Stone and Johanna Vang were the team's top four players a year ago and all earned 2011 All-Big Sky honors.
"These four girls will be going to regionals (in October), they finished in our top-four last year and they are also doubles pairings," Bruno said. "UNLV is a tough tournament and if we can get a few wins out there, we're doing pretty good. We just have to go out there, act like we belong there and battle with these girls. The girls will have to tough it out, but I think we're ready."
The UNLV Fall Invite will take place from Sept. 21-23.