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Cougars Conquer Grand Canyon

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Photo by Chris Baker
Molly Ruby's three-set No. 6 singles win wrapped up Azusa Pacific's 6-3 win over NCAA Div. II's No. 14-ranked Grand Canyon.

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Published
February 24, 2012
By
Joe Reinsch
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AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific's fourth doubles sweep in six matches this season helped the NAIA's No. 7-ranked Cougars post a 6-3 win over NCAA Div. II's No. 14-ranked Grand Canyon Friday afternoon in Azusa.

"This win gives us some confidence, because Grand Canyon is a good, solid Division II program," Cougar head coach Mark Bohren said. "We played really well in doubles today and did enough in singles to get the win."

It was the third of four matches for Azusa Pacific in a six-day stretch this week, and the Cougars have less than 24 hours to enjoy the win before resuming Golden State Athletic Conference play by visiting No. 11-ranked Vanguard Saturday in Costa Mesa.

Azusa Pacific finished its doubles in reverse order, starting with an 8-1 win at No. 3 from senior Leah Hoffee and freshman Danae Ingwaldson. At No. 2, senior Natalie McNall and sophomore Molly Ruby improved to a perfect 5-0 together in doubles this year with an 8-4 victory, and the Cougars' top doubles tandem of sophomores Emily Harris and Kim Koetterheinrich completed the sweep by edging Grand Canyon's top doubles entry, 8-6.

Although the Antelopes notched the first singles point by claiming a straight-sets No. 1 singles victory, Hoffee quickly answered at No. 2 with a 7-6, 6-4 win that ran her individual season-opening singles winning streak to five straight matches. In the opening set, she scored the first five points of the tiebreaker and claimed the set with a 7-3 tiebreak win.

Ingwaldson clinched the team victory by hanging on for a 6-2, 7-5 victory at No. 5, and Ruby provided the final 6-3 margin when she closed out the match with a three-set win at No. 6 singles. Ruby improved her individual singles record to 2-0 on the year by rallying from a 6-3 opening-set defeat to win the final two sets, 7-5 and 6-4.

"Even after winning doubles, we knew that Grand Canyon was the type of team that would fight extremely hard and keep the ball in play," Bohren said. "That’s exactly what they did, but we came up with enough to win today.”

Harris dropped her opening set of No. 3 singles play, but she forced a third set by also reeling off five straight points at the start of a 7-1 second-set tiebreaker win.

With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 5-1 heading into tomorrow's match with Vanguard. Grand Canyon drops to 6-2.