CHENEY, Wash. – The Northern Arizona men's tennis team got perfect days from sophomore Dominic Bermudez and junior Patrick Schimmelbauer, but could not come away with a victory over its Big Sky rival Eastern Washington on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles handed the Lumberjacks a 5-2 defeat at the EWU Outdoor Courts, denying NAU its second conference victory of the season.
"We could've won and there was a time in the match where I thought we would," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "We're playing a little better and a little better, but we still haven't gotten over the hump in these close matches. Our record could be a winning record at this point. We still have to figure that out."
Bermudez and Schimmelbauer teamed for an 8-3 victory at No. 1 doubles over Ilija Cuic and James Russell that evened doubles play at 1-1 after the Eagles got a win at No. 3. Eastern Washington's Chad Henninger and Julian Sanchez, the Eagles' top duo this spring, then clinched the doubles point for the home team, defeating junior Robert Martin and senior Robin Pezzutto by an 8-3 score.
The Eagles pushed their advantage to 2-0 when Kyle Koetje defeated Steven Say at No. 6, but Bermudez got NAU on the scoreboard with a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 3 over Mario Navarro. After Eastern Washington countered with a singles win at No. 1, Schimmelbauer beat Henninger, who entered the week with the second-most singles wins in the Big Sky, in a three-set thriller at No. 4.
Schimmelbauer's win brought the Lumberjacks within one at 3-2 and things were looking good after junior Shaun Waters and Martin won the first set in their respective matches. However, the Eagles rallied for three-set victories at the remaining two spots to beat the Lumberjacks for the first time since 2008.
"Pat got a good (singles) win which he needed and he and Dom overcame some stuff at No. 1 doubles, so there were definitely some positives," Bruno said.
The Lumberjacks will return to the Pacific Northwest next weekend for one final road trip. They'll wrap up their season with their last Big Sky match against Portland State on Saturday and then will play their season finale against Seattle as part of doubleheaders with the NAU women's team.
1. Dominic Bermudez/Patrick Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Ilija Cuic/James Russell (EWU), 8-3
2. Chad Henninger/Julian Sanchez (EWU) def. Robert Martin/Robin Pezzutto (NAU), 8-3*
3. Kyle Koetje/Mario Navarro (EWU) def. Ben Lantz/Shaun Waters (NAU), 8-3
*Clinched Doubles Point
Order of Finish: (3, 1, 2)
1. Russell (EWU) def. Pezzutto (NAU), 6-4, 6-2
2. Cuic (EWU) def. Waters (NAU), 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4**
3. Bermudez (NAU) def. Navarro (EWU), 6-1, 6-4
4. Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Henninger (EWU), 6-2, 6-7 (0-7), 6-1
5. Sanchez (EWU) def. Martin (NAU), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
6. Koetje (EWU) def. Steven Say (NAU), 6-1, 6-3
Order of Finish: (6, 3, 1, 4, 2, 5)