Tennis splits matches, sweeps home opener

 

The NAU men’s tennis team concluded its spring break with a 2–2 record.

The men’s squad (4–8, 1–2 BSC) rebounded from a 1–2 trip to Las Vegas by sweeping the Western Illinois University (WIU) Fighting Leathernecks in team-points 7–0, and only dropped one doubles match in its home opener.

The tandem of sophomore Dominic Bermudez and junior Patrick Schimmelbauer dropped a doubles match against the Leathernecks. The pair forced a tie-breaker set, but could not overcome their opponents, and dropped the match 9–8 (7–5).

NAU swept WIU in straight sets during singles play with freshman Trevor Unger claiming the go-ahead match point and securing the team victory for the Jacks.

The Jacks finished the first weekend of the break in Las Vegas. After dropping their opening match against the No. 74 ranked Ball State University Cardinals, the Lumberjacks defeated the Utah State University (USU) Aggies before losing to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Rebels to wrap up the trip.

“It was definitely a good bounce-back from the Weber State, Idaho State weekend,” said assistant coach Joseph Heckley via NAU Athletics. “We had to step up, and even though we leave 1–2, we really stepped up our games and that’s going to be good for us when we play the rest of our conference matches. What we’re working on is paying off.”

The Lumberjacks wrapped up their weekend trip on March 11, when they fell 6–1 to the Rebels (7–8) on Sunday.

Despite of how the Lumberjacks’ top doubles team of junior Shaun Waters and Unger won their match, the team dropped the doubles point.

The Rebels followed the  doubles point by winning the first four singles matches to cruise to a team victory. The lone Lumberjack singles win came courtesy of Waters, who went 5–1 in his pairings during the weekend, playing in the No. 2 position.

Prior to falling to UNLV, NAU snapped a five-match losing streak with a 5–2 match victory against USU (4–7) to get the Lumberjacks back in the win column.

NAU kicked its day off right with the team sweeping doubles against USU to claim the matches first point. The Lumberjacks clinched the match victory with three straight singles wins by Bermudez, Schimmelbauer and junior Robert Martin, all in straight-sets.

Waters wrapped up the day with a straight-set victory in his first appearance of the season at the No. 2 position.

“We got the doubles point and had a lot of confidence going into singles. They’re getting better and better every day,” Heckley said. “We went out there and competed and did what we needed to do.”

To open the three day trip, the Lumberjacks fell to the Cardinals (12–4) 5–2 on Friday.

After losing the doubles point 1–2, the Cardinals clinched the victory over the Lumberjacks by winning the first three singles matches before Schimmelbauer and Waters emerged victorious at the No. 4 and No. 3 positions in straight sets.

“It’s tough to lose when it’s this close,” said Heckley, via NAU Athletics. “We lost 5–2, but we could’ve won 4–3. We should’ve had it in doubles against a ranked team; we were a match point away from getting the doubles. Ball State has a lot of depth and we were right there with them.”

For his performance during the weekend matches in Sin CIty, which included a 3–0 singles record, Waters earned Big Sky Conference Player of the Week honors for his production. He was the first men’s Lumberjack player to earn the award since Hugo Ramadier won it for the week of March 16-22 last season.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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