RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Northern Arizona men's tennis team clinched the doubles point for the first time in three tries this season, and coupled with strong singles play, they earned their first victory of the season. The Lumberjacks took two of the three doubles matches along with four singles wins in defeating UC Riverside, 5-2, Sunday afternoon. The win was the Lumberjacks' second consecutive victory in as many years against the Highlanders following last year's 4-3 win.
"We needed this, we needed to respond and compete a lot harder today and we did that," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "To beat a California team on their home court says a lot. We're proud of this win and we're going to take this with us a long way."
After losing the first doubles match at No. 1, NAU received a clutch win at No. 2 when sophomore Dominic Bermudez and junior Robert Martin defeated UCR's Kevin Griffin and Jimmy Roberts, 8-3. That led the doubles point to the deciding No. 3 match, where junior Patrick Schimmelbauer and senior Ben Lantz won their second match of the weekend, 8-4.
Taking the edge gained from winning the doubles point, the Lumberjacks then went on to take a 3-0 advantage in the match by virtue of wins from Lantz and junior Shaun Waters at No. 6 and No. 4. The Highlanders would keep their hopes alive with a win at No. 2, but Martin clinched the match for NAU with a three set victory at No. 5 over Simon Peters, 6-0, 3-6, 6-2. The two teams would split the final two matches at No. 3 and No. 1 with Bermudez defeating Austin Andres at the No. 3 position despite losing the first set, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, for the final Lumberjack victory of the afternoon.
In addition to the Schimmelbauer and Lantz's doubles victory, Waters' singles win on Sunday was also his second straight after winning at No. 4 on Saturday against Vanguard.
"Shaun is finding his rhythm," Bruno said. "He's finding his game a little more and he's proved to be the better player in both of his matches this weekend for sure."
Following their weekend split, the Lumberjack men will have next week off before resuming competition with a pair of matches in the state of Colorado beginning with their Big Sky opener against Northern Colorado on Feb. 11.
1. Austin Andres/Felix Macherez (UCR) def. Robin Pezzutto/Shaun Waters (NAU), 8-3
2. Dominic Bermudez/Robert Martin def. Kevin Griffin/Jimmy Roberts (UCR), 8-3
3. Ben Lantz/Patrick Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Luis Gastao/Simon Peters (UCR), 8-4*
*Clinched Doubles Point
Order of Finish: (1, 2, 3,)
1. Macherez (UCR) def. Pezzutto (NAU), 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
2. Roberts (UCR) def. Schimmelbauer (NAU), 2-6, 6-3, 7-5
3. Bermudez (NAU) def. Andres (UCR), 2-6, 6-1, 6-2
4. Waters (NAU) def. Gastao (UCR), 6-0, 6-2
5. Martin (NAU) def. Peters (UCR), 6-0, 3-6, 6-2**
6. Lantz (NAU) def. Kelly Dickson (UCR), 6-2, 6-3
Order of Finish: (6, 4, 2, 5, 3, 1)