LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Lumberjacks won three singles matches, but Western New Mexico claimed the doubles point and battled for three singles wins to defeat Northern Arizona, 4-3, Saturday afternoon in Las Cruces. NAU dropped to 2-5 on the season while the Mustangs, ranked No. 32 nationally in Division-II, improved to 5-1.
"We struggled to find our identity as a team today going against a highly improved Western New Mexico squad," said assistant coach Rich Paulosky. "The guys need to use tomorrow's match and our matches next weekend to harden themselves up for the start of conference play. They have the talent and just need to put it together on the court with a finishing fashion."
Though Western New Mexico recorded a doubles sweep, a pair of matches were tightly contested. At the No. 1 position, WNMU's Emmanuel Mensa and Johan Weich outlasted Lumberjacks Dominic Bermudez and Hugo Ramadier, 8-6, while at No. 3 the NAU duo of senior David Flodberg and junior Robin Pezzutto were narrowly defeated, 8-7 (5). The Mustangs would add an 8-3 win at No. 2 to sweep doubles and earn the first point of the match.
NAU would rebound in singles play, led by Flodberg with a 7-5, 6-4 win at No. 4. Bermudez would outlast Western New Mexico's Rodrigo Almeida at No. 5, 7-6 (9), 6-4, while junior Josh Brown rallied for a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory at No. 6. Straight-set Mustang wins at No. 2 and 3 left the match up to the No. 1 position, where Ramadier and Mensa battled to a third set tiebreak. The Western New Mexico freshman would emerge victorious, 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (5) to win the match and clinch the team victory for the Mustangs.
The Lumberjacks will conclude their weekend in Las Cruces at 9 a.m. Sunday in a match against Texas-San Antonio.