FRESNO, Calif. -- Less than a month after Azusa Pacific scored a 5-4 upset that ended Vanguard’s 4-year run of Top-2 GSAC finishes, the Lions returned the favor, ending the Cougars’ 2-year streak of NAIA Region II championship appearances with a 5-1 win Thursday afternoon in the regional semifinals at Fresno Pacific University.
Azusa Pacific, ranked No. 3 in the final NAIA Top 25 coaches poll, took 2 of the 3 doubles points in the April 5 win at Vanguard. Just as they had a month ago, the teams split the top 2 doubles matches, but this time around, the No. 5-ranked Lions turned the tables at the No. 3 doubles position.
Sheryl Bon and Bay Daniels posted a relatively easy 8-4 win over Damia Donkervoort and Hana Jurcovicova at No. 1 doubles, compared to last month’s 9-8 win that ultimately provided the narrow margin of victory in the Cougars’ 1-point win. Vanguard posted an 8-2 win at No. 2 doubles, with Betty Tesfa and Jelena Jovic scoring an 8-2 victory over Katy Jelsma and Casey Wetzig.
Kim Tran and Lindsey Cloninger, 8-5 winners over Olivia Amstad and Anna Valingsten in the last meeting, suffered an 8-5 defeat to the Vanguard tandem, leaving the Cougars with a 2-1 deficit heading into singles play.
Tesfa, Jovic and Donkervoort each posted straight-sets victories at the second, third and fourth positions to clinch the victory for Vanguard. Tran won the opening set at No. 5 singles for the Cougars’ lone singles set win.
Azusa Pacific drops to 16-5 on the season as it awaits at-large selection to the 24-team NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championship, held May 12-16 in Mobile, Ala.
Vanguard 5, Azusa Pacific 1
1. Bay Daniels (APU) vs. Hana Jurcovicova (VU), 4-6, 2-2 DNF
2. Betty Tesfa (VU) def. Casey Wetzig (APU), 6-2, 6-0
3. Jelena Jovic (VU) def. Sheryl Bon (APU), 6-0, 6-2
4. Damia Donkervoort (VU) def. Katy Jelsma (APU), 6-2, 6-2
5. Kim Tran (APU) vs. Anna Valingsten (VU), 6-4, 0-0 DNF
6. Lindsey Cloninger (APU) vs. Olivia Amstad (VU), 1-6, 0-2 DNF
1. Bon/Daniels (APU) def. Donkervoort/Jurcovicova (VU), 8-4
2. Jovic/Tesfa (VU) def. Jelsma/Wetzig (APU), 8-2
3. Amstad/Valingsten (VU) def. Cloninger/Tran (APU), 8-5