VANCOUVER, Wash. – The Northern Arizona men's tennis team swept doubles play for just the second time this season and then dominated singles play in defeating Portland State, 6-1, on Saturday at Club Green Meadows to snap their eight-match losing streak. The Lumberjacks also claimed their first Big Sky victory since their conference opener on Feb. 11 to move to 2-6 in the conference and 5-16 overall.
"We've been on the verge all year and it's a well-deserved win for the guys," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "Unfortunately it's bittersweet because it's not getting us into the tournament, but we're still out there battling. It's always good to win on the road in conference."
Sophomore Dominic Bermudez and junior Patrick Schimmelbauer ran through Portland State's Alec Marx and Mitch Somach, 8-1, at No. 1 doubles to begin doubles play. NAU then got a win from freshman Steven Say and junior Shaun Waters at No. 3 to clinch the doubles point. Junior Robert Martin and senior Robin Pezzutto's win at No. 2 sealed the sweep, the first for the Lumberjacks since they did so against Utah State on March 10.
Bermudez and Schimmelbauer's win at No. 1 was the pair's sixth of the season, the highest of any NAU duo, while Say's win at No. 3 with Waters was his first collegiate doubles victory.
After the doubles sweep, Bermudez gave the Lumberjacks a 2-0 edge in the match by knocking off the Vikings' Nick Fracchia, 6-2, 6-4, at No. 3 singles. He improved to a team-leading 12-9 in the process and ended the conference season with an impressive 7-1 singles mark against Big Sky opponents.
Waters and Schimmelbauer then followed suit, winning their respective matches at No. 2 and 4 to clinch the match for NAU. After Pezzutto dropped a third-setter at the top spot, senior Ben Lantz and Martin wrapped up the Lumberjack victory with straight set wins at the last two positions.
"Before we left, we wanted to win out this weekend," Bruno said. "It's definitely our goal and now we have more confidence now. Hopefully we can play well tomorrow and get another win."
NAU will aim to parlay its momentum into their season finale on Sunday with hopes of ending the season on a high note when they take on Seattle at 9 a.m. at the Outreach & Performance Tennis Center in Kirkland, Wash. The match will be the final matches in Pezzutto and Lantz's Lumberjack careers.
1. Dominic Bermudez/Patrick Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Alec Marx/Mitch Somach (PSU), 8-1
2. Robert Martin/Robin Pezzutto (NAU) def. Nate Chart/Zach Lubek (PSU), 8-4
3. Steven Say/Shaun Waters (NAU) def. Nick Fracchia/Sean Sullivan (PSU), 8-4*
*Clinched Doubles Point
Order of Finish: (1, 3, 2)
1. Somach (PSU) def. Pezzutto (NAU), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
2. Waters (NAU) def. Lubek (PSU), 7-5, 6-2
3. Bermudez (NAU) def. Fracchia (PSU), 6-2, 6-4
4. Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Marx (PSU), 7-5, 6-1**
5. Martin (NAU) def. Chart (PSU), 6-3, 6-2
6. Ben Lantz (NAU) def. Sullivan (PSU), 6-2, 6-2
Order of Finish: (3, 2, 4, 1, 6, 5)