Men’s tennis losing streak reaches eight following weekend road trip
With little left to play for this season, the NAU men’s tennis team dropped matches to the University of Idaho Vandals and Big Sky Conference foe Eastern Washington University Eagles to push its losing streak to eight.
“Once again, we had our chances; there’s not much except for that,“ said director of tennis Kim Bruno.
With their chances to advance to the conference tournament finished, the Lumberjacks (4-16, 1-6 BSC) fell to the Eagles (10-7, 4-1 BSC) 5-2 on Sunday.
The Lumberjacks opened the match with sophomore Dominic Bermudez and junior Patrick Schimmelbauer earning an 8-3 win, their first as a pairing at the No. 1 position. However, the Eagles rebounded with wins at the two and three positions to take the doubles point.
“We came real close to Idaho a couple days before and they’re almost a ranked team. I think that gave us a little bit of confidence, like we can hang with these guys,” Bermudez said. “We came out against Eastern Washington playing pretty well and toughed it out and beat those guys pretty good.”
Bermudez and Schimmelbauer carried their success in doubles play into their singles matches, scoring the only points on the day for the Lumberjacks.
Schimmelbauer won 6-2, 6-7 (0-7), 6-1 at the No. 4 position. Bermudez won 6-1, 6-3 for his team-high eleventh singles win of the year and improved to 6-1 in conference play.
“It gave us a little spark and I think we were both feeling good after that,“ Bermudez said of the pairs momentum going into singles play. “We had a little rhythm, I think we really felt good after that match.”
On Friday, the Lumberjacks dropped their match up with the Vandals (11-13, 1-2 Western Athletic Conference) 7-0, who took control early with wins at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. Senior Ben Lantz and junior Shaun Waters, in their first match together this spring, avoided a sweep by winning their match in the No. 3 position 8-4.
Singles play brought no relief to the Lumberjacks, as they fell in straight sets in five of the six matches. Only Waters mustered a set win in his match before losing 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 at the No. 2 position.
“It’s just unfortunate that we can’t get over that hump because it’s not really the lack of talent.“ Bruno said. “It’s just playing those big points a little bit smarter.”
NAU will look to snap its eight-match losing streak when it wraps up the season next weekend with a Big Sky Conference match at Portland State University on April 14 before concluding the season at Seattle University on April 15.
“It’s not hoping for a win, it’s striving for a win,“ Bruno said. “You don’t just throw in the towel at this point, you have two matches left. If you have any kind of self worth or team worth, I think you do the best you can.”