By Shayne Dwyer, SDA Media Relations
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Adding to a five-match win streak, the No. 28 Arizona State University Sun Devils (12-2; Pac-12 1-0) women's tennis team defeated No. 50 Yale University by a score of 4-3 on Thursday afternoon at the Whiteman Tennis Center in Tempe, Ariz.
"We knew Yale was a very good and feisty team and that's how they played," ASU Head Coach Sheila McInerney said. "The match was just what we expected... a very tough and hard fought match."
Although the score tells a close match, the Sun Devils were in control of the overall match right from the start.
In doubles, Leighann Sahagun and Ebony Panoho defeated Yale's Hannah Yu and Sherry Li 8-1 to set the tone for the day, while Stephanie Vlad and Joanna Smith topped the Yale pairing of Caroline Lynch and Courtney Amos 8-5. The two ASU victories allowed Desirae Krawczyk and Kassidy Jump to walk away from their match while on top 6-5.
In singles, three Sun Devils won their matches three in a row clinching the overall match at that point by a score of 4-0. No. 96 Desirae Krawczyk fell short in the first set, but made a statement in the last two sets of a three set match to capture the first point over Annie Sullivan 2-6, 7-5, 6-0. From there, Joanna Smith followed up with a point of her own, putting herself on the winning side of a 7-6 (5), 6-4 match against Courtney Amos.
The third and final singles point for ASU was won by No. 50 Stephanie Vlad on the main stage in a two set victory over Madeleine Hamilton 7-6 (5), 6-2.
"Stephanie (Vlad) and Desirae (Krawczyk) both battled well after being down in the beginning of their matches and Joanna (Smith) played well closing out a tough match," McInerney said.
The momentum of the match quickly changed after that however. The Bulldogs were able to capture the remaining three singles points at courts three, four and five. On the third court, Reeree Li defeated Leighann Sahagun in a three set match 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. The fourth court saw a win from Yale's Hannah Yu over Kassidy Jump 6-2, 7-6 (4), and the fifth saw Sherry Li top Ebony Panoho 6-3, 6-1.
Thankfully for Arizona State, the momentum shift happened one match too late, securing the victory for the home team.
"That's college tennis, the momentum of a match usually changes two or three times during the course of the match," McInerney said. "We were fortunate to have the momentum on our side at the end of this match."
The win marks the twelfth win on the season for Arizona State and one of the last remaining matches before the onslaught of difficult Pac-12 opponents appear on the opposite side of the net. Arizona State will face BYU and Purdue on Saturday and Tuesday of next week -- and the team knows that every win at this point counts.
"I thought we competed really well and pulled out some close matches," McInerney added. "I'm happy to come away with the win."
No. 28 Arizona State 4 :: No. 50 Yale 3
Whiteman Tennis Center
1:30 p.m. MST
1. Desirae Krawczyk/Kassidy Jump (ASU) vs. Madeleine Hamilton/Reeree Li (Yale) 6-5 DNF
2. Leighann Sahagun/Ebony Panoho (ASU) def. Hannah Yu/Sherry Li (Yale) 8-1
3. Stephanie Vlad/Joanna Smith (ASU) def. Caroline Lynch/Courtney Amos (Yale) 8-5
Order of Finish: 2, 3
1. No. 50 Stephanie Vlad (ASU) def. Madeleine Hamilton (Yale) 7-6 (5), 6-2
2. No. 96 Desirae Krawczyk (ASU) def. Annie Sullivan (Yale) 2-6, 7-5, 6-0
3. Reeree Li (Yale) def. Leighann Sahagun (ASU) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
4. Hannah Yu (Yale) def. Kassidy Jump (ASU) 6-2, 7-6 (4)
5. Sherry Li (Yale) def. Ebony Panoho (ASU) 6-3, 6-1
6. Joanna Smith (ASU) def. Courtney Amos (Yale) 7-6 (5), 6-4
Order of Finish: 2, 6, 1, 4, 5, 3