LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Sophomore transfer Kester Black led four Lumberjacks with a perfect 3-0 singles record at the Aggie Invitational this weekend as the Northern Arizona men's tennis team began its fall tournament schedule. For three of the NAU players, the New Mexico State-hosted tournament was their first action in a Lumberjack uniform as they faced competition from the host New Mexico State, Arizona and Abilene Christian and Western New Mexico, both of whom finished last season nationally-ranked in the Division II polls.
"The fall tournaments are about playing a lot of matches and now we know what we do well and it showed what we need to improve on," said men's tennis assistant coach Joseph Heckley. "The three newcomers got their feet wet and it was interesting to see where they were at in both singles and doubles, but this is all about getting us ready for spring."
Black, a transfer from Wichita State, flourished in his NAU debut. After not competing on Friday, Black would conclude the tourney with three straight victories, including two over Patrick Pfister and Jeremy Harlas of the host Aggies.
Junior Alan Barrios and sophomore Trevor Unger both posted identical 2-2 records in singles play this weekend. Barrios, in his first season with NAU after playing two years at Pima Community College, earned wins over Abilene Christian's Kyle Plum and Western New Mexico's Jorge Carretero, while Unger posted two victories on Saturday against a pair of opponents from ACU, Jason Proctor and Tucker Mueck. Freshman Sarp Laleli rounded out the list of NAU competitors this weekend and recorded a 1-4 record in his first collegiate action.
In doubles play, Barrios and Laleli teamed up for an even 2-2 mark. The pair dropped both of its matches on the opening day of the tournament, but responded with a win each of the final two days. They defeated Mueck and Brandon McCarty of Abilene Christian, 8-3, on Saturday and wrapped up Sunday's action with a 9-7 victory over Western New Mexico's Rodrigo Almeida and Juan Fuentes. Black and Unger notched one doubles win over the three days, knocking off McCarty and Mueck, 9-7, on Sunday.
Overall, the four Lumberjacks combined for an 8-9 singles record and a 3-5 doubles record in the three days at the NMSU Tennis Complex.
The Lumberjacks will resume their fall schedule at the Balloon Fiesta Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. from Oct. 5-7.