BOZEMAN, Mont. – The Northern Arizona women's tennis team pushed its undefeated doubles mark to 23 consecutive matches and ran its team-win streak to eight matches in beating Montana State, 6-1, Saturday morning at MSU's Anderson Tennis Center. The Lumberjacks' eight-match win streak is now the second-longest winning streak in program history and trails only the 1999 squad's 11-match win streak. NAU improved to 14-8 and 6-1 in the Big Sky with the victory heading into its showdown with Montana on Sunday.
"This is exactly what we needed prior to heading to Montana tomorrow," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "Montana State is a tough team and we had some tough matches, but the girls came out and competed hard as they have all season. They played tough in the big moments. If we continue this, we'll be fine tomorrow. We're excited to be out here competing right now."
Just as they have done in their previous seven victories, the Lumberjacks began their match against the Bobcats by sweeping doubles play. Seniors Ghizelene Doballah and Nicole Perez blanked Ellie Crum and Iva Parapunova, 8-0, for their eighth consecutive win at No. 2 and seniors Alice Pacaut and Malia Wahinepio followed with an 8-2 win at No. 3. The Lumberjacks' sophomore No. 1 pair of Hannah Stone and Johanna Vang concluded doubles play with an 8-5 victory. Both Pacaut and Wahinepio as well as Stone and Vang notched their sixth consecutive victories.
With the doubles sweep, the Lumberjacks are now 23-0 in doubles matches during their current streak. They also improved their conference doubles record to 18-3 this season.
Doballah and Vang pushed NAU's lead to 3-0 with wins at No. 2 and 3 respectively. Doballah handed Paulina Lopez Trevino a 6-2, 7-5 loss while Vang defeated Parapunova, 6-2, 6-3. After the Bobcats got on the board courtesy of a 6-4, 6-4 win by Ellie Crum over Wahinepio at No. 4, Stone sealed up the team win for NAU in a three-set thriller, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-3. The victory was Stone's 10th this year as she became the fifth Lumberjack to notch double-digit singles victories.
NAU wrapped up the match with straight-set victories at No. 5 and 6. Pacaut recorded her seventh straight singles win, 6-3, 6-1, at No. 5 while Perez won her ninth consecutive match, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 6. Perez's nine-match win streak is one shy of tying her career-best 10-match streak set in 2010 as a freshman and she remained perfect in Big Sky play at 7-0 this season.
NAU will face Montana on Sunday at 8 a.m. in a battle for second place in the Big Sky. The Grizzlies shut out Weber State, 7-0, on Saturday and will enter Sunday's showdown with an identical 6-1 conference record as the Lumberjacks. The winner of the match will have an inside track and tiebreaker edge for the second-seed in the conference tournament. Follow Montana's tennis Twitter account @UMGRIZZLIES_TN for live updates of the match.
1. Hannah Stone/Johanna Vang (NAU) def. Charlotta Hjalmarsson/Paulina Lopez Trevino (MSU), 8-5
2. Ghizelene Doballah/Nicole Perez (NAU) def. Ellie Crum/Iva Parapunova (MSU), 8-0
3. Alice Pacaut/Malia Wahinepio (NAU) def. Liana Bates/Wena Tsan (MSU), 8-2*
*Clinched Doubles Point
Order of Finish: (2, 3, 1)
1. Stone (NAU) def. Hjalmarsson (MSU), 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-3**
2. Doballah (NAU) def. Lopez Trevino (MSU), 6-2, 7-5
3. Vang (NAU) def. Parapunova (MSU), 6-2, 6-3
4. Crum (MSU) def. Wahinepio (NAU), 6-4, 6-4
5. Pacaut (NAU) def. Tsan (MSU), 6-3, 6-1
6. Perez (NAU) def. Bates (MSU), 6-1, 6-1
Order of Finish: (3, 2, 4, 1, 5, 6)