The word freshman means nothing to Ebony Panoho -- the student athlete who arrived in Tempe from Australia just less than five months ago. Her strong success thus far in the season is a testament to that fact. Put pressure on the young, talented player, and watch her perform.
And that's just what she did with the match on the line against the University of Washington on Friday afternoon.
With the deciding point resting square on the shoulders of Panoho, her singles victory led the Arizona State Sun Devils (14-1; 4-0 Pac-12) to a 4-3 win over the Huskies on their home court in Seattle, Wash.
"I'm very happy happy to come away with the win today," Arizona State Head Coach Sheila McInerney said. "It was about as close as you can get in a match, that's for sure.
After starting the day on a sour note dropping all three doubles matches, freshman Desirae Krawczyk earned the first point for the Sun Devils on the No. 2 court earning a quick 6-3, 6-4 decision. Senior Jacqueline Cako added to the ASU tally with a two set victory on the main court knotting the overall score at two all.
On the No. 6 court, Joanna Smith was able to earn the second to last point for Arizona State in a tough three set match, defeating her Husky opponent 6-2, 3-6, 6-2. Smith's victory gave ASU the 3-2 lead for a short amount of time, before sophomore Leighann Sahagun was defeated in three sets to give Washington their final point, locking the score at 3-3.
The last remaining match was that of Ebony Panoho and Natali Coronel on the No. 5 court -- at this point the match was approaching the five hour mark. In spectacular fashion Panoho truly earned her win -- 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 with a 7-5 tiebreak.
"Ebony (Panoho) pulled through great as her third set was 3-3 when the match evened at 3-3 overall. She handled the moment well and we are very proud of her," McInerney said. "It's not an easy thing to do when the match is on the line but she really came through for us."
The victory marks the fourth win for ASU in Pac-12 play, and the fourteenth win overall for the squad.
"Overall, I thought our team battled hard and hung tough for the five hours it took to come away with the win," the Head Coach said.
Arizona State will travel to Puilman, Wash. for more Pac-12 conference play as they take on Washington State Sunday afternoon at 10:30 a.m. PDT.
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#21 Arizona State 4 :: #48 University of Washington 3
Bill Quillian Tennis Stadium
1:30 p.m. PDT
1. Elianne Douglas-Miron/Riko Shimizu (UW) def. Nicole Smith/Jacqueline Cako (ASU) 9-7
2. Natali Coronel/Grace Ysidora (UW) def. Joanna Smith/Ebony Panoho (ASU) 8-2
3. Julija Lukac/Andjela Nemcevic (UW) def. Leighann Sahagun/Desirae Krawczyk (ASU) 8-7 (7-5)
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3
1. Jacqueline Cako (ASU) def.Andjela Nemcevic (UW) 7-5, 6-4
2. Desirae Krawczyk (ASU) def. Grace Ysidora (UW) 6-3, 6-4
3. Elianne Douglas-Miron (UW) def. Leighann Sahagun (ASU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
4. Julija Lukac (UW) def. Hannah James (ASU) 7-5, 6-1
5. Ebony Panoho (ASU) def. Natali Coronel (UW) 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5)
6. Joanna Smith (ASU) def. Riko Shimizu (UW) 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
Order of Finish: 4, 2, 1, 6, 3, 5