SAN DIEGO, Calif.-- It's one thing to win on the road, but it's an entirely different thing to do it against the 6th ranked team in the NAIA. But for the Azusa Pacific women's tennis team it's just another day as the 5th ranked Cougars (13-1) defeated No. 6 Point Loma Nazarene (8-4; 5-2) 6-3 to improve to 9-1 in the Golden State Athletic Conference.
The Cougars won two out of three in doubles play (by the slimmest of margins) to open the match with a 2-1 advantage, but the Sea Lions responded, before taking four of six in singles to take the misleading 6-3 win. After trailing 2-1 the Sea Lions responded by splitting the first four singles matches to make it a 4-3 contest before Danae Ingwaldson clinched the victory with a 6-3, 6-4 win at the 5th position.
Azusa Pacific improved to 71-13 overall in singles while Leah Hoffee continued to impress as she kept her perfect singles record intact with a two-set win (6-3, 6-2) over Kiersten Steinhauer at No. 2. All 12 of Hoffee’s wins have come in the 2nd spot and Azusa Pacific is 14-0 overall at No. 2 this year.
Emily Harris and Ingwaldson gave the Cougars their first win of the evening with a tight 8-6 defeat of Maika Adair and Sharon Reibstein at No. 1 doubles before Azusa Pacific took a 2-0 lead when Hoffee and Kim Koetterheinrich followed suit by beating Wileen Chiu and Katelyn Abayan 8-6. Hoffee and Koetterheinrich are now 4-0 together, while Koetterheinrich hasn’t dropped a doubles match this season.
After trailing 2-0 the Sea Lions took three of the next five, beginning with Stenhauer and Jessica Kwan’s 9-8 defeat of Natalie McNall and Molly Ruby at No. 2 doubles.
In Singles Harris kicked things off with a quick 6-0, 6-1 win over Hope Penner at No. 3, but Point Loma Nazarene came back with a 6-2, 6-0 win on Kwan’s defeat of Nakieta Hein in the 4th position to keep the match alive at 3-2 in favor of the Cougars.
After Hoffee’s win the Sea Lions made it real interesting, cutting Azusa Pacific’s lead to one on Chiu’s 6-3, 6-2 win against Koetterheinrich at No. 6 singles to make it a 4-3 match. But at No. 5 Ingwaldson sealed the Cougars’ ninth straight victory by beating Reibstein 6-3, 6-4.
With the match in hand for Azusa Pacific McNall posted a marathon win at No. 1 with an impressive 4-6, 6-3, 12-10 showing against Adair for the senior’s third straight singles win.
Azusa Pacific’s next match will be a home contest against Middlebury (Vt.) on Monday at 1:30 p.m. before the Cougars host Vanguard next Friday at the same time.