The Montana State women’s tennis team snapped a five match losing streak to Northern Arizona posting a 5-2 victory over the Lumberjacks, Friday night in the Bobcat-Anderson Tennis Center. The MSU win was the first over NAU since the 2005 season.
The win was also Montana State’s fourth consecutive victory, and solidified the Bobcats hold on second place in the Big Sky Conference- with a shot at the No. 2 seed and a first-round tournament bye.
“We came into the match with a lot of mental toughness,” said MSU women’s coach Denise Albrecht “We had the mind set ‘one more ball’ and the girls chased everything down and competed hard.”
Montana State (10-8, 5-1) opened the match winning the doubles point as the tandem of Laura Villegas and McKenzie Hilmer notched an 8-6 victory at the No. 3 position to give the Bobcats the advantage.
“The doubles point was crucial,” Albrecht said. “I thought we turned our season around in doubles a couple of weeks ago, and that has given us a lot of confidence and momentum.”
NAU (9-9, 4-2) evened the match at 1-1 as Leslie Vial posted a 6-4, 6-1 win over Ali Griffin at No. 4 singles.
MSU’s top three ladder players then took over as Stephanie Jasper and Villegas each posted victories. Jasper rallied from a 6-4 first set loss at No. 1 to Edit Suhajda winning the final two sets 6-4 and 6-2.
Villegas held off Orsi Golovics at No. 3 singles 6-2, 7-5.
Bobcat freshman Missy Harris clinched the match at No. 2 singles. Trailing 4-1 in the opening set, the four-time Montana Class AA state champion fought back for a 6-4 win over Kim Van Ginkel. Harris ended the match with a 6-2 win in the second set.
“The top part of our ladder really came to play,” Albrecht said. “I thought it was some of their best tennis of the season.”
Senior McKenzie Hilmer concluded MSU’s scoring, notching a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Stacey Pinchbeck at No. 5 singles.
Montana State will host Idaho State and Weber State next weekend to conclude its regular-season schedule.
Montana State 5, Northern Arizona 2
Singles: 1. JASPER, Stephanie (MSU) def. SUHAJDA, Edit 4-6, 6-4, 6-2; 2. HARRIS, Missy (MSU) def. VAN GINKEL, Kim 6-4, 6-2; 3. VILLEGAS, Laura (MSU) def. GOLOVICS, Orsi 6-2, 7-5; 4. VIAL, Leslie (NAU) def. GRIFFIN, Ali 6-4, 6-1; 5. HILMER, McKenzie (MSU) def. PINCHBECK, Stacey 6-2, 6-3; 6. HASEGAWA, Yumi (NAU) def. DE LA TORRE, Andrea 6-3, 6-3. Doubles: 1. JASPER, Stephanie/HARRIS, Missy (MSU) def. SUHAJDA, Edit/GOLOVICS, Orsi 8-4; 2. VIAL, Leslie/VAN GINKEL, Kim (NAU) def. DE LA TORRE, Andrea/GRIFFIN, Ali 8-4; 3. HILMER, McKenzie/VILLEGAS, Laura (MSU) def. PINCHBECK, Stacey/HASEGAWA, Yumi 8-6.