LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Forced to play a doubleheader after rain washed out its match on Saturday, the Northern Arizona men's tennis team split its two matches on Sunday and picked up its first win of the season in the process. The Lumberjacks shut out Utah State, 4-0, in their opener before falling 5-2 to a tough UNLV team playing at its home facility. NAU is now 1-3 after the first two weeks of the season.
"I was very impressed with the team today," said men's tennis assistant coach Joseph Heckley. "We played perfect tennis up and down the lineup in doubles and in singles against Utah State and we didn't give them any free points. We were right there against UNLV and with a few points here and there, we could've taken that match."
The Lumberjacks began Sunday play with the Aggies a day later than planned. Nevertheless, NAU came out roaring picking up the doubles point with wins at the top two doubles positions. Seniors Robert Martin and Shaun Waters notched their third consecutive doubles victory to open the season, defeating Utah State's No. 1 doubles pair to clinch the point after senior Patrick Schimmelbauer and junior Dominic Bermudez made easy work at No. 2, winning 8-2.
With the doubles point in hand, Northern Arizona made quick business in singles play winning the first three completed singles match to secure the victory. Schimmelbauer, Bermudez and Martin each won their respective matches at No. 2, 3 and 5 to clinch the necessary three team points needed. At the time of the victory, the Lumberjacks were also ahead at the three remaining spots, including at No. 1 with Waters ahead in a third set.
The Lumberjacks proceeded to play UNLV hours after securing victory against Utah State and unlike in their first match, they were unable to take the doubles point. The Rebels followed NAU's formula from the first match and won at the No. 1 and 2 positions to take a 1-0 lead into singles action, where NAU would battle the host tightly.
After UNLV's Ace Matias claimed victory at No. 2 singles, Bermudez responded with his second singles victory of the day at No. 3 to bring NAU to within 2-1. The Rebels followed with another win at No. 6 and once again, the Lumberjacks climbed back to within one with Waters posting an impressive 6-2, 6-1 win over UNLV's Tamas Batyi, the No. 14 player in the Mountain Region. However, UNLV wrapped up the match with two final singles victories to deny the Lumberjacks of a Sunday sweep.
Overall though, it was a step in the right direction for the Lumberjacks after an 0-2 start in Tucson a week ago. In singles play in particular, after dropping each of their 12 singles matches last week, the Lumberjacks went 5-4 in singles on Sunday and could have potentially picked up three more singles wins against Utah State.
"I tell the guys every day to compete and what I liked the most about this weekend was our energy," Heckley said. "I can feel the energy getting better and I can see us improving day-by-day and match-by-match. It's great to see us improving like that and playing as a whole team."
Sunday's doubleheader will prove to be pivotal as the Lumberjacks face another two-match day in a week with matches against New Mexico and Western New Mexico next Sunday in Albuquerque, N.M.
Utah State Results:
1. Robert Martin/Shaun Waters (NAU) def. Marcus Fritz/Sven Poslusny (USU), 8-6*
2. Dominic Bermudez/Patrick Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Brandon Nielsen/Fredrik Peterson (USU), 8-2
*Clinched Doubles Point
Order of Finish: (2, 1)
1. Waters (NAU) vs. Poslusny (USU), unfinished (NAU leading 3-6, 6-4, 2-1)
2. Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Peterson (USU), 6-1, 6-0
3. Bermudez (NAU) def. Fritz (USU), 6-4, 6-0
4. Black (NAU) vs. Sweet (USU), unfinished (NAU leading 6-3, 3-0)
5. Martin (NAU) def. Curran Wearmouth (USU), 6-2, 6-4**
6. Barrios (NAU) vs. Whiting (USU), unfinished (NAU leading 6-2, 5-3)
Order of Finish: (2, 3, 5)
1. Ace Matias/Bernard Schoeman (UNLV) def. Martin/Waters (NAU), 8-2
2. Tamas Batyi/Johannes Markel (UNLV) def. Bermudez/Schimmelbauer (NAU), 8-5*
3. Charlie Alvarado/Willie Sublette (UNLV) vs. Black/Sarp Laleli (NAU), unfinished (UNLV leading 5-4)
*Clinched Doubles Point
Order of Finish: (1, 2)
1. Waters (NAU) def. Batyi (UNLV), 6-2, 6-1
2. Matias (UNLV) def. Schimmelbauer (NAU), 6-4, 6-1
3. Bermudez (NAU) def. Gilad Berman (UNLV), 6-2, 6-3
4. Schoeman (UNLV) def. Laleli (NAU), 6-4, 6-3**
5. Markel (UNLV) def. Black (NAU), 6-4, 6-3
6. Carlos Di Laura (UNLV) def. Martin (NAU), 6-4, 6-2
Order of Finish: (2, 3, 6, 1, 4, 5)