Women's Tennis Falls to Azusa Pacific in National Semifinals

(MOBILE,AL)---The Crimson Storm women’s tennis team was defeated this morning the NAIA National Semifinals, 5-1 by 7th-seeded Azusa Pacific, California in Mobile, Alabama. SNU’s Cinderella run in the National Tournament comes to an end with the defeat.

The Crimson Storm posted an incredible winning streak in Mobile, starting off the tournament with a hard fought 5-4 win over Westmont, California. SNU would then set their sights on fellow SAC school and 6th-seeded Oklahoma Christian. The Crimson Storm would knock off the Lady Eagles 5-4 in the second round of Nationals to advance to the Quarterfinals for the first time in school history.

SNU followed up that monumental win with another stunning upset, knocking off 3rd-seeded Flagler, Florida in the quarters, 5-4, to advance to the program’s first ever NAIA National Semifinal appearance.

Unfortunately, Southern Nazarene would run into a tough 7th-seeded Azusa Pacific squad and had their season come to an end with a 5-1 loss.

The Crimson Storm end an incredible 2004 season with a 15-12 record. SNU finishes the year with the highest finish in school history with their appearance in the NAIA Final Four. SNU finished the season ranked 11th in the final NAIA National Polls.

Individually, SNU’s Larikah Russell ends her sophomore season with a 23-1 record at #1 singles. Freshman Nikkita Fountain ends her freshman season with a 20-5 record at #2 singles. Russell and Fountain teamed up to post an impressive 25-1 record at #1 doubles.

Southern Nazarene will graduate three seniors from this year’s squad as Becky Ciccone, Caroline Magambo and Jana Maker all bid farewell to SNU. Ciccone finished up her senior season with a 10-10 record playing at #4 and #5 singles. Magambo ends her career with a 13-11 mark at #3 singles and Maker finishes up her senior campaign with a 12-3 record at #6 singles. Magambo and Maker also teamed up for an 11-4 record at #2 and #3 doubles.

SNU Head Coach Phil White ends his eleventh season at the helm of the Crimson Storm women’s tennis program. White has led SNU to three NAIA National Tournament appearances where the Crimson Storm has never lost in the first round. This year’s National Semifinal appearance is the furthest White has led SNU in the National Tournament.

Below is a final look at SNU’s run through the NAIA National Tournament.

First Round - Monday, May 17 - 9 a.m.
Southern Nazarene (Okla.) (13-11) def. Westmont (Calif.) (8-16), 5-4
Singles
#1 - Larikah Russell (SNU) def. Kendyll Whiting (WC), 6-0; 6-0
#2 - Nikkita Fountain (SNU) def. Jenny Renfer (WC), 6-0; 6-1
#3 - Jen Goebel (WC) def. Caroline Magambo (SNU), 6-4; 6-2
#4 - Ashley Alleman (WC) def. Sara Sills (SNU), 6-0; 6-1
#5 - Sarah Gideon (WC) def. Becky Ciccone (SNU), 6-2; 2-6; 7-5
#6 - Jana Maker (SNU) def. Christie Sanghi (WC), 6-0; 6-3
Doubles
#1 - Russell/Fountain (SNU) def. Goebel/Whiting (WC), 8-5
#2 - Renfer/Gideon (WC) def. Ciccone/ Emily Kraft (SNU), 8-3
#3 - Magambo/Maker (SNU) def. Alleman/Sanghi (WC), 8-4
Match Officials - Anne Burrell-Smith (CC), Clarence Corgin, Nancy Weltlich


Second Round - Tuesday, May 18 - 9 a.m.
Southern Nazarene (Okla.) (14-11) def. #6 Oklahoma Christian (15-5), 5-2
Singles
#1 - Larikah Russell (SNU) def. Michaela Sheibalova (OC), 6-1; 6-1
#2 - Nikkita Fountain (SNU) def. Linda Tempelfelde (OC), 6-4; 6-3
#3 - Ashley Sims (OC) def. Caroline Magambo (SNU), 6-0; 7-5
#4 - Sara Sills (SNU) vs. Linda Proctor (OC), 3-6; 3-5 DNF
#5 - Becky Ciccone (SNU) vs. Tarryn DeSouza (OC), 1-6; 6-0; 0-3 DNF
#6 - Jana Maker (SNU) def. Micah Wooten (OC), 6-0; 6-1
Doubles
#1 - Russell/Fountain (SNU) def. Tempelfelde/Sims (OC), 8-2
#2 - Magambo/Maker (SNU) def. Shejbaloua/DeSouza (OC), 8-5
#3 - Proctor/Wooten (OC) def. Emily Kraft/Ciccone (SNU), 8-3
Match Officials - Romeo Dobre (CC), Aimee Johnson, Joe Taranto

Quarterfinals - Wednesday, May 19 - 9 a.m.
Southern Nazarene (Okla.) (15-11) def. Flagler (Fla.) (15-5), 5-4
Singles
#1 - Larikah Russell (SNU) def. Charlotte Sikora (FC), 3-6; 6-3; 6-3
#2 - Nikkita Fountain (SNU) def. Meredith Fish (FC), 7-6 (5); 6-3
#3 - Caroline Magambo (SNU) def. Laurie Molter (FC), 3-6; 6-3; 6-2
#4 - Franzi Scheer (FC) def. Sara Sills (SNU), 6-0; 6-0
#5 - Holly Gambill (FC) def. Becky Ciccone (SNU), 6-0; 6-0
#6 - Lane Allenius (FC) def. Jana Maker (SNU), 6-1; 6-4
Doubles
#1 - Russell/Fountain (SNU) def. Sikora/Fish (FC), 8-1
#2 - Magambo/Maker (SNU) def. Molter/Scheer (FC), 8-6
#3 - Gambill/Allenious (FC) def. Ciccone/Emily Kraft (SNU), 8-2
Match Officials - Richie Weaver (CC), Deborah Slone, Joe Taranto, Robin Mastley, Romeo Dobre, Larry Slone

Semifinals - Thursday, May 20 - 9 a.m.
Azusa Pacific (Calif.) (21-7) def. Southern Nazarene (Okla.) (15-12), 5-1
Singles
#1 - Jennifer Dao (APU) vs. Larikah Russell (SNU), 2-6; 1-1 DNF
#2 - Mayu Sato (APU) vs. Nikkita Fountain (SNUJ), 4-6;0-2 DNF
#3 - Peggy Bell (APU) vs. Caroline Magambo (SNU), 6-0; 4-1 DNF
#4 - Christina Earnest (APU) def. Sara Sills (SNU), 6-0; 6-0
#5 - Lynn Quitoriano (APU) def. Becky Ciccone (SNU), 6-1; 6-0
#6 - Lindsey West (APU) def. Jana Maker (SNU), 6-1; 6-0
Doubles
#1 - Russell/Fountain (SNU) def. Bell/Earnest (APU), 8-4
#2 - Sato/Dao (APU) def. Maker/Magambo (SNU), 8-0
#3 - Quitoriano/West (APU) def. Emily Kraft/Ciccone (SNU), 8-0

Match Officials - Dick Mann (CC), Deborah Slone, Maria Long, Larry Slone, Dan Weinberg, Fred Cooper