MOBILE, Ala.-- The Azusa Pacific women’s tennis team faced a rare early deficit and couldn’t rally back falling 5-0 to Shorter in the NCCAA championship match. The loss snapped the Cougars’ four-match playoff winning streak, giving Azusa Pacific it’s second national runner-up finish in program history.
“All of the girls battled like no other. I know they’re disappointed, but if there’s any real disappointment it’s losing this group of seniors. This is probably the best group of girls I’ve ever coached. The winning and losing isn’t what it’s about. At the end of the day, when you have great seniors it’s really sad to see them leave,” said head coach Mark Bohren.
The Cougars dropped each of their doubles matches 8-5. No. 17 ranked Emily Harris and Natalie Johnson lost at No. 1, and Danae Ingwaldson and Lindsey Yeom fell at No. 2. The Hawks sealed their 3-0 lead with a defeat of Kim Koetterheinrich and Stephanie Quan at No. 3.
“We were really close in all three doubles, but we had some bad breaks and lost all three. I thought we had a really good shot at going ahead 2-1, but Shorter played really well and deserves all of the credit,” said Bohren.
In singles the Hawks got within a win with a 6-2, 7-6 (5) defeat of Ingwaldson at No. 3 before Shorter clinched the sweep with a three-set victory (2-6, 6-4, 6-2) against No. 24 ranked Harris. Johnson was in the third set when the match was clinched.
Harris, who captained the last two Azusa Pacific teams, closes out her career with a singles record of 67-21, while fellow four-year Cougar Koetterheinrich finishes with a 47-26 singles mark, and a 65-19 clip in doubles, which includes a perfect 18-0 season in 2012.
Azusa Pacific, which has reached the semifinals of the NCCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons, closes out 2014 with a 22-8 record.