FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – After Northern Arizona claimed the doubles point and singles wins at No. 3 and 4, Montana rallied to win the last-four matches of the contest to record a 4-3 victory on Friday in the Lumberjacks' final home match of the season. The loss ended a 10-match home winning streak for NAU and dropped the Lumberjacks to 8-5 overall and 3-1 in the Big Sky while Montana evened its season record at 3-3 and moved to 2-0 in conference.
With sophomore No. 1 singles and doubles player Andrew Reiff unavailable, NAU had to shuffle its lineup with three new doubles teams and a revamped singles lineup. Freshman Kevin Taylor and sophomore Ben Lantz played at No. 1 doubles, dropping an 8-6 decision. The Lumberjacks rallied with doubles wins at No. 2 and 3, however, to pick up the first point of the match.
In singles, sophomore Robin Pezzutto moved up to No. 3 and recorded a 6-1, 6-3 win while junior David Flodberg cruised to a 6-4, 6-1 win at No. 4. Needing one more win to clinch the match, freshman Patrick Schimmelbauer won his first set at No. 2 but Montana's Mikolaj Borkowski rallied to win the second and third sets to put Montana on the board. Freshman Hugo Ramadier, playing in place of Reiff at No. 1 singles, also won his first set, 6-4, before Montana's Carl Kuschke rallied to claim the second and third sets, 7-6 (7-1) and 6-2, respectively. Taylor dropped a 7-5, 7-5 decision at No. 5, leaving the match up to the No. 6 position.
Lantz, inserted into the lineup with Reiff out, faced Montana sophomore Ben DeMarois in the final singles match with the score tied at three. DeMarois won the first set, 7-5, before Lantz rallied back with a 7-5 second-set win. The deciding third set went to a tiebreak at 6-6, with Lantz fending off several match points before DeMarois finally claimed a 7-5 win in the tiebreak to get the win and clinch the match for Montana.
"We had chances in every match and lost three three-set matches, and that was the difference," director of tennis Kim Bruno said. "We knew what we had to do with Andrew out and we couldn't take advantage of our opportunities. It's very frustrating and we really have to go back to square-one now."
The Lumberjacks are off until March 30, when they will play at New Mexico at noon.