Thirteen turned out to be a lucky number for the ASU tennis team.
By winning their 10th straight match, ASU advanced to 13-1 for the year and 3-0 in the Pac-12 after beating Oregon 6-1 on Friday.
The Sun Devils’ trio of nationally ranked doubles teams started the day by winning the doubles point for the 13th time this season.
It may have been the hardest doubles point they’ve won all year.
“We were fortunate, I should say, to come away with the doubles point,” coach Sheila McInerney said. “We did not play well at all at (number) two doubles.”
Sophomore Joanna Smith and freshman Ebony Panoho, who are ranked No. 74 nationally in doubles, fell to Oregon (10-4, 0-3 Pac-122) senior Julia Metzger and junior Pascale Neubert 8-2.
A gutsy performance from the No. 31 tandem of seniors Jacqueline Cako and Nicole Smith clinched the doubles point ASU and gave the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead.
Losing 4-7 at one point, Cako and Smith scrapped their way back and drew even at 8-8.
Smith would be the one to put the match away.
“Nikki (Smith) came up and hit a good poach on the last point and I think that was big, to be down 7-4 and to come back and win the doubles.” McInerney said.
Cako and Smith won by a final score of 9-8 (7-5), giving the Sun Devils the upper hand heading into singles.
Cako, the No. 21 singles player in the country, continued dominating at the No. 1 position in singles. She snapped Oregon sophomore Nicole Long’s 17-match winning streak in straight sets 6-2, 6-3.
With wins from Cako, Panoho and freshman Stephanie Vlad, ASU took a 4-0 lead that guaranteed the win.
That’s right when the games became difficult for the Sun Devils, especially for freshman Desirae Krawczyk at the No. 2 spot and sophomore Leighann Sahgun at the No. 3.
Krawczyk started strong at No. 2 winning the first set 7-5. Then she was shut out in the second set 0-6.
The freshman would go on to win 10-7 in the final match-breaker over Oregon senior Patricia Skowronski.
McInerney said she expected Sahagun to be challenged by UO senior Julia Metzger.
“Their real-big hitters are at two and three,” McInerney said. “Their girl at number three beat Leighann (Sahagun) fairly handily, and we knew she was going to be a good player.”
It was Sahagun’s fourth consecutive loss against Metzger, who played at No. 1 for the Ducks last season.
Sahagun started the season on a roll with an 8-2 record at one point and playing as high as No. 2 in the lineup.
Her recent struggles could just be a sign of some growing pains.
“One thing, don’t forget, (Sahagun) wasn’t really in our singles lineup last year and she’s really improved a lot but … you’re playing really good players,” McInerney said. “Two and Three, Desirae and Leighann, those are really tough positions for two young kids.”
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1.) No. 31Cako/N. Smith def. Skowronski/Long: 9-8(7-5)
2.) Metzger/Pascale Neubert def. No. 74 J. Smith/Panoho: 8-2
3.) No. 65 Krawczyk/Sahagun def. Sofia Hager/Brooke Hughes: 8-1
1.) No. 21 Cako def. Long: 6-2, 6-3
2.) No. 94 Krawczyk def. Skowronski: 7-5, 0-6, (10-7)
3.) Metzger def. Sahagun: 6-1, 6-2
4.) Vlad def. Lana Buttner: 6-3, 6-1
5.) Hannah James def. Rebecca Steuckeman: 6-3, 7-6(5)
6.) Panoho def. Hughes: 6-3, Hughes retired after first set.