NAU Women's Tennis To Fight For Regular Season Conference Title in Montana

Northern Arizona Women's Tennis
Northern Arizona Women's Tennis

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The NAU Women's Tennis team is three matches away from the Big Sky Conference tournament. The Lumberjacks will hit the road this weekend to compete against the Montana State Bobcats and the Montana Grizzlies. Northern Arizona currently sits in first place with an undefeated 8-0 record. They are coming off of an important 4-3 win over defending conference champions the Idaho Vandals, increasing to 14-4 overall.

"We have been preparing all season to get to this point," Director of Tennis Ki Kroll said. "I am proud of the improvement and I know the women will come out and give their best effort against two strong Montana opponents."

The Lumberjacks already clinched a spot in the conference tournament, as well as Montana State. Northern Arizona will be challenged this weekend against the Bobcats, who sit just one win behind the 'Jacks at 7-0 and are the only other undefeated team in the conference. Against the 'Jacks, Montana State will be honoring their seniors during senior day. Last season in the conference tournament, the Bobcats lost in the quarterfinal to Weber State while the Lumberjacks went on to the championship match without the two teams even crossing paths.

"We are at a point of the season where every court counts and every win gets you closer to the title," said Kroll. "We just need to keep working hard and working together."

The following day, the Lumberjacks will take on the Grizzlies who are 1-6 in conference with their lone win over Southern Utah. The last time Northern Arizona competed against Montana, the Lumberjacks won 6-1 at home. The Grizzlies will also be honoring three of their athletes for senior day in Missoula.

The Northern Arizona squad includes No. 18 regionally ranked freshman and Player of the Week Chiara Tomasetti, who leads the 'Jacks in the win column with 15 singles wins. She pairs with senior Blanka Szavay for an impressive 13-2 doubles record going undefeated at 7-0 in conference. The two are nationally ranked No. 63 in doubles among some of the top Division I programs in the United States.

Northern Arizona has a tough weekend ahead against Montana State Saturday, April 15 and against Montana Sunday, April 16. Both matches are set for 9 a.m. Following this weekend, the Lumberjacks will host for the final time in their senior match April 22 against Weber State.

Highlight Reel

  • The Lumberjacks finished 2016 as regular season champions with an 18-8 overall record and 10-1 in Big Sky Conference play.
  • Since Jan. 4, freshman Chiara Tomasetti sits at No. 18 in the Mountain Region singles rankings.
  • Since April 4, Chiara Tomasetti and Blanka Szavay are nationally ranked No. 63 in doubles.
  • On April 11, Chiara Tomasetti joined Blanka Szavay in receiving a Big Sky Player of the Week honor this season.

Weekend Scout

Montana State

Match Day: Saturday, April 15

Match Time: 9:00 a.m.

Match Location: Bozeman, Mont.

The Bobcats are 11-3 overall and on a six-match winning streak, currently the longest in the Big Sky. Montana State is coming off of two 6-1 wins over North Dakota and Weber State increasing to 7-0 in the Big Sky. Montana State will host for the final time in the regular season first facing the Montana Grizzlies Friday, April 14 before taking on the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks the following day. The Bobcats are just one win behind the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, who are currently 8-0. Led by Head Coach Jon Reeves, the 10-woman roster includes five seniors who will be honored in what will be their senior day against the 'Jacks. The Bobcats already clinched a spot in the Big Sky Conference tournament; however, they have a chance to challenge the Lumberjacks for the conference title. Following this match, Montana State will travel for their final two matches against Eastern Washington and Idaho before the Big Sky Conference tournament.

Montana

Match Day: Sunday, April 16

Match Time: 9:00 a.m.

Match Location: Missoula, Mont.

With four matches left, Montana is 2-16 overall picking up a 7-0 sweep over non-conference opponent Lewis-Clark State and a 4-3 win over Southern Utah. The 1-6 Grizzlies are on a five-match losing streak coming off of a 1-6 loss to Weber State. Led by head coach Steve Ascher, the 8-woman roster includes 3 seniors who will be honored on senior day against the Lumberjacks. Before taking on the 'Jacks, the Grizzlies will face in-state rival the Montana State Bobcats Friday, April 14 at 9 a.m. Following this weekend, Montana will end their season against both Idaho and Eastern Washington.

Coming Up

The Northern Arizona Women's Tennis team will graduate three from their roster who will be honored next weekend during the final match of the regular season — senior day. Seniors Marta Lewandowska, Hailey Rochin and Blanka Szavay will compete in Flagstaff for the last time in blue and gold. The Lumberjacks will host Weber State Saturday, April 22 at 10 a.m. Following that match, Northern Arizona will compete in the Big Sky Conference tournament, which will be held in Phoenix, Ariz. April 27-30 at the Phoenix Tennis Center.

Fall Finish

Northern Arizona competed in five fall tournaments at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University of Arizona, ITA Mountain Regionals in Albuquerque, N.M., Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University. All seven Lumberjacks played this fall, with standout seniors Marta Lewandowska and Hailey Rochin and freshman Chiara Tomasetti who had incredible preseasons. To start the fall, senior Blanka Szavay paired with sophomore Hanneke Lodewijks for a doubles win in their first match at the UNLV Invitational. Lewandowska came up with two singles wins and finished 2-1 in doubles with freshman Brandy Walker. Walker picked up a third-place finish in singles for the first time as a Lumberjack in that tournament. At Arizona, the Lumberjacks posted a 9-7 singles record and a notable 7-1 doubles record, including two singles wins for Lewandowska, Tomasetti and sophomore Eirene Granville. The Lumberjacks finished strong with Tomasetti qualifying for the Round 16 in singles at the ITA Mountain Regionals.