By Shayne Dwyer, SDA Media Relations
TEMPE, Ariz. - In a match that only lasted three hours, the No. 29 Arizona State women's tennis team (10-2; Pac-12 0-0) steamrolled the Western Michigan Broncos on Sunday afternoon at the Whiteman Tennis Center in Tempe, Ariz.
The Sun Devils captured all of their points in two straight sets, with a 7-5 decision on court number six standing out as the most competitive score.
"I thought it was a pretty good performance from our team, but also from Western Michigan," Arizona State head coach Sheila McInerney said. "Western Michigan has played some strong teams, Michigan, Notre Dame and Indiana, so like I said, I think they're kind of battle tested... so I thought from our standpoint it was a good win."
ASU started the wave of momentum winning on doubles courts two and three by scores of 8-4 and 8-2 respectively, clinching the doubles point and forcing the number one doubles pairings to abandon their match one game away from closing out with a 7-5 lead.
Although they weren't able to close out with a win, the pairing on the first court marked the first time that freshman Alexandra Osborne and junior Leighann Sahagun played together, and the first time Osborne played on the main stage since arriving in America for the first time from Australia just several weeks ago.
"It was awesome...I wasn't expecting to be playing at the number one spot," freshman Alexandra Osborne said. "I found out this morning about an hour before we went on."
From there, sophomore Ebony Panoho, who tacked on her fourth straight singles win, clinched the first singles point on the fifth court defeating Caroline Aleck of Western Michigan in two sets 6-2, 6-1.
No. 48 Stephanie Vlad put away Nini Sujashvili 6-1 in the first set, but fell 0-3 to begin the second set before rallying back to win six straight games to top her opponent 6-3 and capture the third overall team point.
"At the beginning of the second set I feel like I kind of just got out of my pattern that was working and she had hit some big shots at big times," Stephanie Vlad said. "But I felt even still going down 3-0 that the games were really close so I didn't really panic and I still felt like I was in the match even though I was down three to zero."
The match clinching victory came shortly thereafter when No. 122 Desirae Krawczyk defeated Kathleen Hawkins on the number two singles court in two quick sets 6-3, 6-1.
"It's always nice from a coaching standpoint to finish quickly, it takes some stress off the kids," McInerney said. "It's like anything, keep your foot on the gas pedal and you can get off the courts before anything else can happen."
To finish the shutout, Kassidy Jump, Leighann Sahagun, and Joanna Smith all won out their matches in two straight sets on courts four, three and six respectively. Jump defeated Tracy Juhle 6-3, 6-4, Sahagun defeated Meika Ashby 6-4, 6-2, and Smith topped Yuriko Ono in the closest scoring match, 6-1, 7-5.
"Instead of continuing the process, I think sometimes she sees the finish line and starts thinking about that too much," McInerney said in regards to Joanna Smith's play. "The beauty of tennis is there's no shot clock, time doesn't run out and you can't call a time out so you really have to finish. I think sometimes the kids jump ahead of themselves a little bit too much and get too concerned about the result rather than the process."
Sunday's win marked the fourth straight for the Sun Devils -- a win that is much needed for a squad that needs as many non-conference wins as they can get before opening up Pac-12 conference play. The toughest stretch of Arizona State's schedule beings on the road with the conference opponent University of Washington on March 7, in Seattle, Wash.
"Hopefully we can use this win and go play a very good Washington team on Friday. It's nice always to get a good win under your belt before you hit the road," McInerney added.
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No. 29 Arizona State 7 :: Western Michigan University 0
Whiteman Tennis Center
11:00 a.m. MST
1. Leighann Sahagun/Alexandra Osborne (ASU) vs. Nini Sujashvili/Meika Ashby (WMU) 7-5 (DNF)
2. Stephanie Vlad/Joanna Smith (ASU) def. Kathleen Hawkins/Tracy Kuhle (WMU) 8-4
3. Desiraek Krawczyk/Ebony Panoho (ASU) def. Caroline Aleck/Yuriko Ono (WMU) 8-2
Order of Finish: 3, 2
1. No. 48 Stephanie Vlad (ASU) def. Nini Sujashvili (WMU) 6-1, 6-3
2. No. 122 Desirae Krawczyk (ASU) def. Kathleen Hawkins (WMU) 6-3, 6-1
3. Leighann Sahagun (ASU) def. Meika Ashby (WMU) 6-4, 6-2
4. Kassidy Jump (ASU) def. Tracy Kuhle (WMU) 6-3, 6-4
5. Ebony Panoho (ASU) def. Caroline Aleck (WMU) 6-2, 6-1
6. Joanna Smith (ASU) def. Yuriko Ono (WMU) 6-1, 7-5
Order of Finish: 5, 1, 2, 4, 3, 6