AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific continued its impressive start to the 2011 season, posting its third straight win over a ranked opponent with a 7-2 win over NCAA Div. III’s No. 30-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Friday afternoon at the Munson & Bavougian Tennis Complex
The NAIA’s No. 8-ranked Cougars won every match except the top singles and doubles spots, where the reigning NCAA Div. III individual national champion Kristin Lim posted victories for the Athenas in their season opener.
Lim led Claremont’s top doubles tandem to an 8-4 win over Azusa Pacific’s Sheryl Bon-Bakalov and Emily Harris, and she avoided a third set at No. 1 singles with a second-set tiebreaker for a 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Azusa Pacific’s true freshman Harris, who was making her first career appearance in the top singles position.
Although Lim secured 2 points for Claremont, the Cougars’ depth was overwhelming and resulted in wins in every match not involving Lim. Bon-Bakalov posted a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 2 singles, 1 of 4 Azusa Pacific straight-set singles victories, and freshman Molly Ruby rallied from an opening-set loss to claim a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win at the No. 6 spot.
Azusa Pacific got the early lead in the match with an 8-1 No. 3 doubles victory from senior Casey Wetzig and junior Leah Hoffee. After Lim briefly tied the match for Claremont with the No. 1 doubles result, junior Natalie McNall and freshman Kim Koetterheinrich held on at the No. 2 spot for an 8-6 victory that pushed the Cougars into the lead heading into singles play.
Bon-Bakalov’s quick victory was followed by Hoffee’s near-perfect 6-1, 6-0 result at No. 4, and McNall clinched the team win for Azusa Pacific with her 7-5, 6-3 win at the No. 3 position.
With the win, the Cougars improve to 3-0 heading into their 2011 Golden State Athletic Conference opener next week, when they host The Master’s College on Wednesday, Feb. 16.