MOBILE, Ala.-- In the final match of pool play the Azusa Pacific women’s tennis team fell to reigning National Christian College Athletics Association champion Palm Beach Atlantic 5-1, sealing Pool B’s No. 2 seed headed into Thursday’s semifinals. Azusa Pacific, which lost two of three in doubles and dropped three straight singles matches to the Sailfish (19-6), are now slated to face Fresno Pacific for the fourth time this year.
Stephanie Quan and Brejohn McCrary recorded the Cougars’ lone win, defeating Vilja Vahatalo and Jessica Wharton 8-5 at No. 3 doubles. Emily Harris and Kim Koetterheinrich fell to Natalia Trotter and Leyla Taracena 8-6, and Dane Ingwaldson and Samantha Kaneta lost to Victoria Baca and Veena Vasquez at No. 1.
The Cougars, who finished 2-1 in pool play, lost three straight singles matches, beginning with Harris’ 6-2, 6-1 loss to No. 22 Vasquez at No. 1. Ingwaldson blasted Baca 6-0 in the opening set of her first match, but fell 6-3, 6-2 in the second two sets to give Palm Beach Atlantic a 4-1 lead. Shortly after, the Sailfish sealed the victory when Taracena tabbed a 6-4, 7-5 win over Koeeterheinrich.
McCrary was knotted with Trotter at one set apiece, and Lindsey Yeom was leading Wharton 6-5, 4-6, 1-0 when the match was finished. Kaneta was also in striking distance, battling back from a first set defeat with a convincing 6-1 win in set two before Palm Beach Atlantic clinched the win.
Azusa Pacific will now face Fresno Pacific in the semis on Thursday morning, looking to even the season-series at two wins apiece. Earlier this year the Cougars grabbed their first-ever win against the Sunbirds, but FPU bounced back with a 5-0 win over Azusa Pacific in the Pacific West Conference tournament.