ASU tennis knocks off Fresno State, Santa Clara

Sophomore Leighann Sahagun jumps to return a shot against Santa Clara on Feb. 17. The ASU tennis team was able to beat the Broncos in their closest contest of the season. (Photo by Murphy Bannerman)

Sophomore Leighann Sahagun jumps to return a shot against Santa Clara on Feb. 17. The ASU tennis team was able to beat the Broncos in their closest contest of the season. (Photo by Murphy Bannerman)

The ASU tennis team won both of its games over the weekend, but one of them didn’t come without a fight.

The Sun Devils (6-1) knocked off Fresno State 6-1 Saturday and Santa Clara 4-3 Sunday.

The Fresno State Bulldogs (4-4, 1-0 MWC) entered Saturday ranked No. 52, but that didn’t faze the No. 29 Sun Devils (6-1) who won all but one match in straight sets.

Saturday also marked the return of freshman Desirae Krawczyk, who didn’t play in singles in the team’s Wednesday match against San Jose State with a groin injury.

ASU cruised past Fresno State without too much trouble, but its Sunday match against Santa Clara wouldn’t go as easily.

The unranked Broncos (2-4) gave the Sun Devils as close of a match as they’ve had all year.

ASU started well in doubles, winning the doubles point by taking all three matches in convincing fashion. They were the easiest wins the Sun Devils would get all day.

“It was certainly a battle,” ASU coach Sheila McInerney said. “I thought they played very well in the singles. They won four first sets, so they jumped on us pretty handily.”

Santa Clara managed to win three of six singles matches including beating the Sun Devils’ two previously unbeaten players: sophomore Leighann Sahagun and senior Jacqueline Cako.

Sahagun’s match, once again, was a long one. Sahagun won her first set against Santa Clara’s Kelly Lamble 6-4 but lost the second set in a nailbiter 6-7 (2) in a close tiebreaker. The match went to a final matchbreaker, which Lamble won to take the win.

Cako faced her first top-25 opponent of the year in Santa Clara sophomore Katie Le. After trading games in the first set, Le would win 7-6 (2) in a tiebreaker. Le would claim the second set 6-2 and hand Cako her first loss of the year.

“I wasn’t making enough balls and just wasn’t taking the ball early enough basically,” Cako said. “She was able to push me around a little bit too much.”

Although Cako and Sahagun couldn’t quite pull out victories, senior Hannah James and Krawczyk battled back from early setbacks to win two crucial matches that won the overall match for ASU.

“Credit to our kids for fighting back,” McInerney said. “Desirae lost the first set and bounced back. Hannah lost the first set and bounced back, and needless to say, those turned out to be two big matches for us.”

After losing the first set 6-1, James battled back to win the next two sets 6-4 each.

James’s win gave the Sun Devils a 3-2 lead in the match and set up Krawczyk to win the overall match for ASU by winning her match in the third set.

James didn’t know at the time how important her win was for the match.

“Being on the other side, you don’t realize what the score is and you don’t want to ask just in case it affects your play in that game,” James said.

The Sun Devils will have a week to recuperate before their next match against Pepperdine Saturday at Whiteman Tennis Center.

 

Results (Fresno State)

 

Doubles

Nicole Smith/Jacqueline Cako def. Bianca Modoc/Aishwarya Agrawal: 8-4

Joanna Smith/Ebony Panoho def. Rana Sherif Ahmed/Melissa McQueen: 8-3

Desirae Krawczyk/Leighann Sahagun def. Anneka Watts/Sophie Watts: 7-6(2)

Singles

Cako def. Ahmed: 6-2, 6-4

Sahagun def. Agrawal: 7-6(2), 6-0

Krawczyk def. McQueen: 4-6, 6-1, 6-3

Stephanie Vlad def. S. Watts: 6-0, 6-1

Modoc def. Panoho: 6-4, 7-6(5)

James def. Anne Susdorf: 6-0, 6-3

 

Santa Clara

 

Doubles

N. Smith/Cako def. Katie Le/Jessica Agra: 8-4

J. Smith/ Panoho def. Maggie McGeorge/Kelly Lamble: 8-3

Krawczyk/Sahagun def. Stephanie Skaras/Delphine Rouvillois:8-2

Singles

Le def. Cako: 6-7(3), 6-2

Lamble def. Sahagun: 4-6, 7-6(5), 1-0

Krawczyk def. Zaniewski: 4-6, 6-3, 6-2

Stephanie Vlad def. Skaras: 6-0, 6-2

James def. Chelby Cooke: 1-6, 6-4, 6-4

Rouvillois def. Panoho: 6-0, 6-4

 

Reach the reporter at ejsmith7@asu.edu