MOBILE, Ala. -- The NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championship is beginning.to look a lot like GSAC play for sixth-seeded Azusa Pacific, or perhaps it’s the other way around. The Cougars faced their third straight GSAC foe on the national stage, handing Point Loma Nazarene a 5-0 defeat that put Azusa Pacific into the NAIA quarterfinals for a fourth consecutive season.
Last year, the Cougars knocked off Vanguard in the quarterfinals before a semifinals defeat to Fresno Pacific ended the season. However, after opening its 2007 NAIA Tournament run with a win over a third straight GSAC opponent, Azusa Pacific will face third-seeded Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) for the first time in program history in Wednesday’s 11 a.m. quarterfinal.
Peggy Bell and Bay Daniels got the Cougars rolling with a perfect 8-0 shutout at No. 1 doubles, and Azusa Pacific’s other 2 pairs completed the doubles sweep to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead heading into singles play.
Bell wrapped up first in singles, scoring a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Maria Petrini at No. 4 singles, and with every Cougar leading their individual matches, Katy Jelsma ended the match with a 7-6, 6-3 win over Samantha Reeve at No. 5 singles.
The victory was Azusa Pacific’s 10th in NAIA Tournament competition since the team tournament format began in 2000.
Jennifer Dao teamed up with Kim Tran for an 8-3 win at No. 2 doubles, and after a narrow 7-6 first-set win, Dao was well on her way to the straight-sets win, leading Ashley Strimple 3-0 at No. 1 singles when the match concluded. Meanwhile, at No. 3 singles, Tran won the first game by a 6-1 margin before locking up into a 5-5 deadlock in the second game when the match finished.
Daniels, a winner of 3 straight NAIA Tournament singles matches, won the opening set at No. 2 singles and led 3-0 in the second before extending her singles streak to 4. Jessalyn Lau’s first national tournament experience was a tightly-contest battle at No. 6 singles, where she led 3-2 in the third set after splitting the first 2. Jelsma and Lindsey Cloninger made up Azusa Pacific’s third successful doubles victory, posting an 8-4 win at No. 3 doubles.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 17-4 on the season, while Point Loma Nazarene’s season ends with a 14-7 record. The Cougars advance to a quarterfinal matchup with Freed-Hardeman, a 6-0 winner over Lindenwood (Mo.) in other second-round action Tuesday afternoon at the Mobile Tennis Center.
#1 - Jennifer Dao (APU) vs. Ashley Strimple (PLNU), 7-6, 3-0 DNF
#2 - Bay Daniels (APU) vs. Kelsey Weir (PLNU), 6-4, 3-0 DNF
#3 - Kim Tran (APU) vs. Christine LaLonde (PLNU), 6-1, 5-5 DNF
#4 - Peggy Bell (APU) def. Maria Petrini (PLNU), 6-1, 6-2
#5 - Katy Jelsma (APU) def. Samantha Reeve (PLNU), 7-6, 6-3
#6 - Jessalyn Lau (APU) vs. Leanne Milliken (PLNU), 6-2, 1-6, 3-2 DNF
#1 - P. Bell/B. Daniels (APU) def. K. Weir/C. LaLonde (PLNU), 8-0
#2 - J. Dao/K. Tran (APU) def. A. Strimple/M. Petrini (PLNU), 8-3
#3 - K. Jelsma/L. Cloninger (APU) def. S. Reeve/L. Milliken (PLNU), 8-4