MOBILE, Ala.-- The No. 14 ranked Azusa Pacific women’s tennis team took a big step towards claiming its first national championship Wednesday, closing out National Christian College Athletics Association pool play with its third straight win to advance to the NCCAA semifinals.
The Cougars, who posted a pair of sweeps Tuesday, defeated Southern Nazarene 5-1 in the final match of pool play, advancing to face Dallas Baptist for a trip to the NCCAA title match.
“We’re playing solid tennis. We have an experienced team and I like where we’re at. We’ve played so many tough matches this season that we’re prepared for this moment. We’re completely ready to play and I’m excited to see what happens,” said head coach Mark Bohren.
The Cougars (21-7) took two of three in doubles play before winning a trio of singles matches to clinch the victory. Natalie Johnson recorded a 6-1, 6-3 win over Natalie Moreno at No. 2, while Kim Koetterheinrich posted a 6-0, 6-0 victory against Haley Cantwell at No. 5. Stephanie Quan notched the Cougars’ other point, winning by default against the shorthanded Crimson Storm.
No. 24 ranked Emily Harris was leading Masha Andrianova 6-2, 1-0 at No. 1, while Danae Ingwaldson and Lindsey Yeom were each up a set when the match was called.
In doubles the 17th ranked team of Harris and Johnson beat Andrianova and Moreno 8-2 at No. 1, and Koetterheinrich and Quan got a point with SNU fielding only two doubles teams. Marina Shipilova and Karina Kotova slipped past Yeom and Ingwaldson 9-7 at No. 2.
The Cougars, who fell to Fresno Pacific in the 2013 NCCAA semifinals, will take on Dallas Baptist at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.