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February 24, 2010

Men’s Tennis to Face No. 59 New Mexico St., Three Others in Las Cruces

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – A match with No. 59 New Mexico State highlights a challenging stretch for Northern Arizona of four matches in as many days Thursday-Sunday in Las Cruces, N.M. The Lumberjacks have won their last four matches and are 6-2 on the year, though they are just 1-2 in matches at lower elevation. This weekend will be a great test for NAU away from high altitude, opening with Texas-Pan American on Thursday followed by a date with Texas-Arlington on Friday, the home standing Aggies on Saturday, and concluding with Idaho on Sunday, with all matches to be played at the NMSU Tennis Center.

“We’re going to have to play well, one through six, in all of the matches,” director of tennis Kim Bruno said. “I’m very excited to see how we compete on that surface and at lower altitude. We will need to make the adjustment to playing outdoors as well. This will be a good test for us.”

Northern Arizona Quick Hits

The Lumberjacks dominated Division-II Grand Canyon, 7-0, in Flagstaff in their only match last week…NAU has played on three-consecutive days (in Las Vegas, Jan. 29-31) and on two-consecutive days (at Force and Northern Colorado, Feb. 13-14) earlier this season…Freshman Hugo Ramadier is a team-best 7-1 in singles this season at No. 3 and 4 and is tied with Eastern Washington’s Fernando Mussolini for the most wins in the Big Sky…Junior David Flodberg also has only one loss this season (5-1), joining Ramadier as two of four Big Sky players with just one loss for the season (min. four matches)…Sophomore Andrew Reiff has the best record at No. 1 singles (5-2) in the Big Sky (min. four matches)…Reiff and sophomore Robin Pezzutto are 7-1 at No. 1 and 3 doubles, easily the best doubles mark in the conference (min. four matches)…Montana is the only other Big Sky team with a winning overall record (2-1)…Montana is also the only other undefeated Big Sky team in conference, though they have only played one Big Sky match (1-0).

Scouting Texas-Pan American

The Broncos, who play in the Southland Conference, are 0-5 for the season, having last competed individually in the ITF Futures Tournament last week. Texas-Pan American does not have its first home match of the season until March 29, but so far has not left the state of Texas in five road matches. The Broncos will face Western New Mexico and New Mexico State in addition to NAU while in Las Cruces.

Junior Aswin Vijayaragavan, the 2009 Southland Player of the Year, is 3-2 playing exclusively at No. 1 singles for UTPA and is the only Bronco with a winning singles record for the season. Northern Arizona has never played Texas-Pan American in men’s tennis, as the Broncos are the only first-time opponent on the NAU schedule this season.

Scouting Texas-Arlington

Also from the Southland Conference, the Mavericks are 1-4 on the year, with their lone win coming at home in a 7-0 victory over Division-II Cameron University. Texas-Arlington has only played one road match so far this season, a 7-0 loss last week at Baylor. Senior Dmitry Minkin and Sophomore Mindaugas Celedinas hold down the No. 1 and 2 singles spots, respectively, for UTA.

The Mavericks also play New Mexico State and Western New Mexico while in Las Cruces. Northern Arizona is 0-2 all-time against Texas-Arlington, including a 5-2 loss to the Mavericks last season in Sacramento.

Scouting New Mexico State

The Aggies upset then-No. 57 New Mexico, 4-3, last Sunday for their first win over their in-state rivals in 10 years, elevating New Mexico State from No. 72 to No. 59 in this week’s ITA national rankings. The win improved the Aggies’ season record to 4-2, though the match was the first at home for NMSU this season. The Aggies will face WAC conference mate Idaho on Friday, NAU and Texas Pan American on Saturday, and Texas-Arlington on Sunday in hosting the busy weekend of tennis.

Junior Jim Brouleau leads New Mexico State at No. 1 singles. Northern Arizona is just 4-19 all-time against the Aggies, including 7-0 shutouts during the last-two seasons. The teams have met every year since 2001, with the last NAU win coming in a 4-3 triumph in 2005.

Scouting Idaho

NAU ends a quartet of matches on Sunday against Idaho, which enters the week with the best record amongst the teams competing in Las Cruces at 9-4. The Vandals have defeated two Big Sky teams, Northern Colorado and Eastern Washington, already this season and also have a 4-3 win over then-No. 74 UNLV. Junior Lachlan Reed has won his last-three matches in leading Idaho at No. 1 singles.

The Lumberjacks are in impressive 11-4 all-time against WAC member Idaho. The Vandals won the last meeting between the schools, however, 5-2 in 2008.