Head coach Kim Bruno had to replace many key players from her 2013 squad. She looked to some key returners to lead the 2014 squad, while also looking for incoming players to step up. Bruno got both this season as top returner Johanna Vang was named to the First Team All-Big Sky and freshman Hailey Rochin earned Honorable Mention.
“I am so proud of our girls because it says a lot about this team,” Bruno said.
Vang led the team in wins this season in singles with 12 and was tied for fourth in the conference with eight wins in the Big Sky on the No. 1 court. Vang was second in the Big Sky with the most wins at the No. 1 position during conference matches.
The native of Sweden was instrumental in NAU’s historic win over Sacramento State as she went undefeated with a win on the No. 1 court in singles and a win in doubles along with Sarah Maria Spruch on the No. 2 court. Last season, Vang earned Honorable Mention in the Big Sky and embraced the leadership role this season as the No. 1. Vang was not only exceptional on the court this season, but also off the court as she has maintained a 4.0 GPA.
“Johanna went from honorable mention to first team and continues to improve every single year,” Bruno said. “She has stuck with what we do here at Lumberjack Tennis and that takes dedication, hard work and belief in our coaching staff and what we do here.”
Rochin improved each match throughout her freshman campaign. She was tied for second on the team in singles wins with 10, playing her best tennis when it mattered most during conference play. On the No. 4 court, Rochin went 8-5 and played stellar in the Big Sky with a 7-3 record in singles play.
“Hailey has come so far in this season and has improved mentally, physically and technically,” Bruno said. “She is going to be a force for her four years and will be tough to beat in the Big Sky.”
Northern Arizona finished second in the Big Sky with an 8-2 record in the conference and will return everyone except lone senior Tatum Rochin.
The Northern Arizona men’s tennis team went into the season picked to finish eighth in the Big Sky Conference and the players proved the doubters wrong with a third-place finish. After a 13-win season, Kester Black, Jordan Gobatie, Alexandre Locci and Fabio Tomasetti have been named to the All-Big Sky Honorable Mention team.
Last season, the Lumberjacks had one player earn an All-Big Sky selection, and in his first year at the helm for Northern Arizona, head coach Ki Kroll led four players to All-Conference honors, the most since 2005.
“I am really excited for all four of them because they are so well-deserved,” Kroll said. “Whenever you get an award, it shows how hard you have worked, and I am happy their hard work has paid off.”
Locci made an immediate impact as a freshman and developed into a force on the No. 1 court at the end of the season. After beginning the season at No. 2, Locci went 8-8 in singles and continued to improve throughout the season. The native of France ended the season as the No. 1 for the Lumberjacks and went 3-2 in that spot.
“Alex came in and took care of his school work and on the tennis court,” Kroll said. “He is a huge assest to this program and he will come back as a sophomore with great experience and I am looking for great things out of him.”
Junior college transfer Gobatie came to Northern Arizona looking to be a major contributor in Kroll’s program and did not disappoint as he finished second on the team in wins with 12. The native of Riverside, Calif., led the team in doubles victories with an impressive 13-6 record, 8-1 during conference play.
“Jordan brought leadership to the table and had a solid year,” Kroll said. “He started off really well and became a good doubles player.”
Tomasetti led Northern Arizona in singles wins during conference play with eight at the No. 3 position. The native of Germany ended his freshman campaign with a 13-8 overall record in singles.
Black came in as NAU’s top returner from last season and proved to be a steady force at the No. 4 position. The native of Scotland ended the season with the most wins on the team and an overall record of 15-6 in singles with an impressive 7-2 record in conference.