Photo Courtesy Shane Dwyer
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – A day after it avenged its 4-3 loss to Colorado State from a year ago, the Northern Arizona women's tennis team did the same to New Mexico State on Sunday, recording its second straight 5-2 win to cap off a weekend sweep and evening its spring record for the first time this season to 6-6. The Lumberjacks have now won six of their last eight matches following a 0-4 start to the season.
"We outcompeted them and hung in it until the end," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "We had three three-setters and Tatum (Rochin) being at (7-5, 7-5). We have confidence in each other and this is exactly what we needed going into next weekend. We needed these two wins this weekend."
New Mexico State's Denise Van Der Ben and Annemieke Witte started the day with a win at No. 2 doubles which put the Aggies within one doubles win of the early advantage in the match. However, the second New Mexico State doubles win would never materialize as the Lumberjacks denied the home team of a 1-0 lead. Instead, seniors Alice Pacaut and Malia Wahinepio won their eighth consecutive doubles match at No. 3 to even up the doubles score and then sophomores Hannah Stone and Johanna Vang finished it off with their second win of the weekend at No. 1.
The Lumberjacks top-two singles players in the lineup, senior Ghizelene Doballah and Stone, took care of their opponents to begin singles play and gave NAU a 3-0 lead. Doballah and Stone dropped a total of three sets between them and set the tone for the Lumberjacks. Wahinepio, filling in for Vang at the No. 3 singles position for the second consecutive day, clinched the match for NAU with a three-set victory over Van Der Ben. Junior Tatum Rochin then picked up her second win of the weekend at No. 6 before the Aggies closed out the match with a pair of three-set victories at No. 4 and 5.
"It was a great team performance and every person contributed this weekend, it wasn't just one person," Bruno said. "Playing without Johanna in singles and Tatum stepping in with two wins goes to show how we stepped up as a team and the confidence we have to win regardless of who's in there."
With their win-loss record finally even, the Lumberjacks embark on the annual anticipated Big Sky match of the season next weekend. After NAU plays at San Francisco on Saturday, the Lumberjacks will head to Sacramento, Calif. where they will look to take down Sacramento State in their second Big Sky contest of the spring the following day. The Hornets have won the past 11 Big Sky regular season and tournament championships and will enter Sunday's match against the Lumberjacks on a 93-match Big Sky win streak.
1. Hannah Stone/Johanna Vang (NAU) def. Ros-Polly Nguyen/Ginet Pinero (NMSU), 8-6*
2. Denise Van Der Ben/Annemieke Witte (NMSU) def. Ghizelene Doballah/Nicole Perez (NAU), 8-4
3. Alice Pacaut/Malia Wahinepio (NAU) def. Lisa Roslanova/Jodie Williams (NMSU), 8-5
*Clinched Doubles Point
Order of Finish: (2, 3, 1)
1. Doballah (NAU) def. Williams (NMSU), 6-1, 6-0
2. Stone (NAU) def. Pinero (NMSU), 6-2, 6-0
3. Wahinepio (NAU) def. Van Der Ben (NMSU), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3**
4. Witte (NMSU) def. Pacaut (NAU), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
5. Nguyen (NMSU) def. Perez (NAU), 6-3, 1-6, 7-6
6. Tatum Rochin (NAU) def. Roslanova (NMSU), 7-5, 7-5
Order of Finish: (2, 1, 3, 6, 4, 5)