MOBILE, Ala.-- It wasn’t supposed to be this easy, but the Cougars aren’t complaining. The No. 14 ranked Azusa Pacific women’s tennis team advanced to the program’s second national championship match, defeating Dallas Baptist 5-0 in the latest in a string of tournament blowouts to move onto the National Christian College Athletics Association title bout. The Cougars, who were the 2004 NAIA national runner up, will face Shorter (Ga.) on Friday at 9 a.m.
“I’m really excited. The team continues to play well, and I thought we were even better today than we were yesterday. We’re in the perfect spot, and as long as we play well, I’ll be happy regardless of the result,” said head coach Mark Bohren.
Azusa Pacific (22-7) opened Thursday’s semifinal with its third doubles sweep of the tournament, getting a decisive 8-0 win from Kim Koetterheinrich and Stephanie Quan over Meredith Robinson and Lyvia Gomes at No. 3. No. 17 ranked Emily Harris and Natalie Johnson recorded an 8-5 victory against Amanda Richter and Cassandra Wenerstrom, while Lindsey Yeom and Danae Ingwaldson rattled off an 8-4 defeat of Leah Rutt and Leah Smith at No. 2 to put the Cougars ahead 3-0.
In singles Quan gave Azusa Pacific a quick 5-0 advantage with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Gomes at No. 5, and Koetterheinrich clinched the Cougars’ spot in the championship with a 6-0, 6-2 win against Alexa Mentesana at No. 6.
No. 24 Harris and Johnson were up a set when the match was clinched, and Ingwaldson was leading 6-4, 2-2 when the contest was sealed.
The win pushed the Cougars into their first championship match since 2004, where Azusa Pacific fell to Auburn Montgomery 5-0. It was also the only year both Azusa Pacific’s men’s and women’s teams reached the championship match. The men, who will face McMurry in tomorrow’s title tilt, also lost 5-0 to Auburn Montgomery that year.
Shorter has also rolled through the NCCAA tournament, bringing its 4-0 postseason mark into tomorrow’s title match.