David advances, Goliath up next
April 27, 2013
The Montana women's tennis team advanced to its second consecutive Big Sky Conference tournament championship match with a 4-2 semifinal victory over Northern Arizona Saturday afternoon at the Gold River Racquet Club in Gold River, Calif.
Facing the No. 3 Lumberjacks for the fifth straight tournament, the No. 2 Grizzlies dropped the doubles point but picked up wins at Nos. 2-6 singles, two in straight sets, two in three sets, to win their seventh straight match and improve to 15-7.
Northern Arizona ended its season with a record of 17-10 and won 11 of its final 13 matches. Both of those losses came against Montana.
When the Grizzlies beat the Lumberjacks in Missoula on April 7, NAU won the doubles point to gain early momentum, but Montana came back with strong play in singles, all straight-set victories, to win 6-1. Saturday's match nearly mirrored that result.
Heather Davidson and Laurence Pelchat won 8-1 at No. 1 doubles, handing Hannah Stone and Johanna Vang just their second defeat in NAU's last 11 matches. The Lumberjacks won 8-3 at No. 2 over Sasha Carter and Maddy Murray and 9-7 at No. 3 over Haley Driver and Precious Gbadamosi.
Driver beat Vang convincingly for the second time this month at No. 3 singles, 6-1, 6-1, to even the match at 1-1.
Northern Arizona regained the lead when Ghizelene Doballah rallied from down a set to knock off Pelchat at No. 2, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.
With Montana needing a spark, Carter provided it at No. 4 when she came back from down a set to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 over Malia Wahinepio.
Ashley Mackey made it 3-2 with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Nicole Perez at No. 6, and Gbadamosi sent Montana to the championship match with a 6-3. 2-6, 6-2 win over Alice Pacaut at No. 5.
With the match decided, Davidson's match at No. 1 against Stone went unfinished.
Awaiting Montana in Sunday afternoon's championship match for the second year in a row will be Sacramento State.
The Hornets are the tournament's No. 1 seed for the 12th straight year, they're seeking their 12th straight tournament title, and they've won 104 straight regular-season and tournament matches against Big Sky opponents. No conference team has defeated Sac State since 2002.
The Hornets won last year's championship match against the Grizzlies 4-0 and won the team's regular-season matchup earlier this season 6-1.
Sunday's match begins at 3 p.m. (MT). Live stats will be available at HornetSports.com.
Montana 4, Northern Arizona 2
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