(From left to right): Parents Michael and Carla, Hailey, Tatum, Director of Tennis Kim Bruno
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – With the graduation of five seniors looming at the end of the season, director of tennis Kim Bruno secured a commitment from Hailey Rochin, a nationally-ranked blue-chip recruit from Tucson, on Friday to fill the upcoming void on the Northern Arizona women's tennis team for the 2013-14 season. Rochin will join her sister, current junior Tatum Rochin, on the Lumberjacks' roster next season.
"Hailey is an all-around player," Bruno said. "She knows how to win at singles and her results prove that. In doubles, she knows how to finish at the net. She wants to be here and be a part of this program and it's going to help boost us to a new level. It's going to be a new era next year with a lot of new girls and she's just the first one to commit. There's not enough words to describe what she'll bring to this institution and to this tennis team."
Hailey Rochin will be an incoming freshman from Bridgeway Academy and brings a host of accolades with her to Flagstaff over her 10 years of playing the sport. Rochin, a four-star recruit according to Tennis Recruiting Network, has been the No. 1 ranked player in the USTA Southwest Section in the U12, U14 and U16 ranks over her prep career. She reached a high national ranking of No. 20 and has stacked up well against the best players in the country, having beaten several top-50 players in national tournaments.
In the Girl's 16 National Open in 2009, Rochin and her partner claimed the doubles championship. She also was a finalist at the U12 Copper Bowl tournament and received the Girl's 14 Zonals Sportsmanship Award for the Southwest.
"It feels really good to have my school set because now I can just play tennis and enjoy it with my friends and family," said Rochin, who also considered Arizona, Air Force, New Mexico and Seton Hall before committing to NAU. "The team and the campus with the trees and the beautiful surroundings drew me to NAU. I want to help this team win the conference."
Rochin will be reunited with her sister Tatum, who is in her first season at NAU after transferring from Pima Community College, but the family connection does not stop there. The sisters' father, Michael, attended Northern Arizona as did his parents. Rochin's grandfather, Ruben, played basketball for NAU and is in the NAU Hall of Fame as a member of the 1953-54 basketball team that was inducted in 1986.
"I'm so excited to play with my sister because we've been playing tennis together for eight years," Rochin said. "Now I get add to one more year to that with my sister and that's awesome."
The Lumberjacks will lose seniors Ghizelene Doballah, Alice Pacaut, Nicole Perez, Malia Wahinepio and Alice Walker at the end of the spring. Doballah, Pacaut, Perez and Wahinepio comprised four of the team's six starters last season. With so much turnover in the roster for next season, there will be high hopes that Rochin can come in and contribute immediately, something that Bruno believes is definitely a possibility.
"I expect her to be a No. 1-3 player and she definitely still has some growth," Bruno said. "She's very coachable and there's potential out there that is unforeseen at this moment."
The Lumberjacks will begin their 2013 spring season with a doubleheader against Arizona and UC Davis in Tucson on Jan. 18 before taking on Arizona State in Tempe the following day.