Women's Tennis Aims For Seven, Hosts UTPA on Monday
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Only five other times since the program began in 1975 has the Northern Arizona women's tennis team won seven consecutive matches. If NAU defeats UT-Pan American on Monday in their three-match homestand finale, they will make it six times. The Lumberjacks look to extend its season-long win streak to seven matches against the Broncs at Continental Country Club on Monday at 9 a.m. before heading out on their final road trip of the spring next weekend.
The Lumberjacks (12-8 overall, 5-1 Big Sky) have been nothing short of dominant over their last six wins which have included three 7-0 sweeps and three 6-1 victories. In the first two matches of their homestand, they picked up their fourth and fifth conference victories, defeating both Eastern Washington and Idaho State by 6-1 margins.
A key during their current win streak has been strong starts as the Lumberjacks have won the doubles point to begin each of their last six matches. Not only have the Lumberjacks claimed the 1-0 advantage in every match, but they have not dropped a doubles match during their streak. They are 17-0 in doubles play since March 17 and have been paced by their No. 3 doubles team of seniors Alice Pacaut and Malia Wahinepio. The senior tandem continues to lead the Big Sky in victories at 14-3 and has won five straight and 13 of their last 14 matches. At No. 2, seniors Ghizelene Doballah and Nicole Perez have won six consecutive matches and their next win would put all three NAU doubles teams in double-digits victories.
A strong start in doubles has put the Lumberjacks in a good position recently as success has carried over into singles play. Perez notched her 14th victory in Saturday's win over Idaho State which set a new career high and she has now won her last seven matches at both the No. 5 and 6 positions. Pacaut is riding a six-match win streak and is one win behind Perez at 13-7. Wahinepio and sophomore Johanna Vang both picked up their 10th singles victories during the team's current homestand, giving the Lumberjacks four of their primary six players at the double-digit win threshold. Over the course of their six-match win streak as a team, the Lumberjacks have won 33 of 36 singles matches.
To match the program's second-longest win streak of seven matches, something that has not been accomplished since 2008, the Lumberjacks will have to get past the Broncs, who are led by a familiar face. UT-Pan American is coached by Stephanie Vallejos, who served as director of tennis Kim Bruno's assistant coach for three years before taking the head coach position at UTPA at the beginning of the 2011-12 season. Vallejos also played at NAU from 2005-08 and finished her career with an All-Big Sky first team selection as a senior.
Vallejos' Broncs have spent the last two days in Flagstaff as well, playing neutral-site non-conference matches against Eastern Washington and Idaho State. UT-Pan American fell to Eastern Washington, 5-2, on Saturday but bounced back to edge out Idaho State, 4-3, Sunday morning to improve to 4-10 this season. The Broncs' Wanda Beguelin and Reegan Greenwood each have six wins during the spring season to lead the team.
The Lumberjacks are 2-0 versus the Broncs all-time, earning wins in 2009 and 2010. A third win would give NAU its sixth all-time win streak of at least seven matches with the previous five occurring in 1985, 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2008. The longest win streak in program history was the 11-match streak to begin the 1999 season, which is also the last year NAU won the Big Sky Championship.
Monday's match is free for fans to attend and live scoring for the match will be available here.