By Shayne Dwyer, SDA Media Relations
TEMPE, Ariz.--The No. 26 Arizona State University Sun Devils (2-0; Pac-12 0-0) women's tennis team opened the 2014 regular season with two decisive victories in Saturday afternoon's double header against the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona University.
"NAU loved the double header; both teams got more matches and at the beginning of the year you want to be playing as many matches as you can," ASU Head Coach Sheila McInerney said.
The 2014 home opener, which kicked off the 30th season for McInerney in the top coaching slot at ASU, saw 13 individual match victories for the senior-less Sun Devil squad and just one loss -- a 6-3 decision in the first match on the number two doubles court that favored Northern Arizona.
Sophomores Stephanie Vlad and Desirae Krawczyk filled the first and second lineup spots respectively, each earning victories in two sets and keeping their opponents to under two games won.
"I just played the same game that I've been practicing all year," sophomore Desirae Krawczyk said. "I kept myself disciplined and made sure that I hit my spots, I just played well and made my first serves. My first serve percentage was really, really good so I was happy with that too."
The first match of the morning operated following standard scoring protocol except for third set, singles matches decisions. The second match of the day however, scored according to the new experimental standards handed down from both the ITA and the NCAA. The two teams fielded one doubles team that played simultaneously along side four singles matches.
And not only was the one doubles match an experiment for scoring, but also an experiment for partners too. The two players McInerney selected for that match share a few things in common -- they are both juniors, stand at almost the same height and hail from coasts, albeit they don't see the same ocean. In their three years with the program, Joanna Smith and Leighann Sahagun were paired together only twice, until today, when that number became three.
"We finished the first match and we come in and about 20 minutes before we go out, Sheila (McInerney) goes, 'I'm going to put you into doubles with Jo (Joanna Smith),' and that was about all the prep we had," junior Leighann Sahagun said.
The pairing worked, with the two most seasoned Sun Devils earning a victory in two sets, 6-0, 6-3.
"We are a really good team and I really enjoy playing with Leighann (Sahagun)," junior Joanna Smith said.
The two newcomers to the team, Kassidy Jump and Gussie O'Sullivan, earned strong victories in their first ever collegiate dual meets. Jump defeated Tatum Rochin 6-2, 7-6 (4) and O'Sullivan defeated Sarah Spruch 6-1, 6-0 in the first match.
"This was their first dual match, so it was a no brainer to put them in and let them get some college tennis under their belt and get the nerves out of the way," McInerney said.
Arizona State will take their two wins at home but quickly move on to focusing on next weekend, where they are slated to take on the University of Notre Dame on January 25th.
"With a team like this it's very much taking every day one at a time and looking to get better," McInerney said.
Arizona State 7 :: Northern Arizona 0
Whiteman Tennis Center
10:00 a.m. MST
1. Leighann Sahagun/Joanna Smith (ASU) def. Emelia Box/Hailey Rochin (NAU) 6-2
2. Johanna Vang/Tatum Rochin (NAU) def. Ebony Panoho/Joanna Smith (ASU) 6-3
3. Desirae Krawczyk/Kassidy Jump (ASU) def. Jordan Denesik/Hailey Rochin (NAU) 6-1
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
1. Stephanie Vlad (ASU) def. Emelia Box (NAU) 6-0, 6-2
2. Desirae Krawczyk (ASU) def. Johanna Vang (NAU) 6-2, 6-0
3. Leighann Sahagun (ASU) def. Hailey Rochin (NAU) 7-5, 6-3
4. Ebony Panoho (ASU) def. Jordan Denesik (NAU) 6-2, 6-3
5. Kassidy Jump (ASU) def. Tatum Rochin (NAU) 6-2, 7-6 (4)
6. Gussie O'Sullivan (ASU) def. Sarah Spruch (NAU) 6-1, 6-0
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 6, 4, 5, 3
Arizona State 5 :: Northern Arizona 0
Whiteman Tennis Center
2:00 p.m. MST
1. Leighann Sahagun/Joanna Smith (ASU) def. Hailey Rochin/Johanna Vang (NAU) 6-0, 6-3
1. Stephanie Vlad (ASU) def. Jordan Denesik (NAU) 6-1, 6-1
2. Desirae Krawczyk (ASU) def. Emelia Box (NAU) 6-0, 6-1
3. Kassidy Jump (ASU) def. Olivia Headford (NAU) 6-3, 6-1
4. Gussie O'Sullivan (ASU) def. Tatum Rochin (NAU) 6-2, 6-1
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 1(dbls), 3, 4
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