FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona men's tennis team once again hung in there against the Big Sky's elite, but for the fourth time in five conference matches it came up one point short of victory as it fell 4-3 to Idaho State Saturday morning at Continental Country Club. The Lumberjacks dropped the doubles point, which proved to be the difference in the match, and is now 0-5 in the Big Sky and 3-15 overall. Of their last 11 defeats over the last six weeks, six of them have been 4-3 losses.
"We played really well but it sounds like a broken record," said men's tennis assistant coach Joseph Heckley. "We have to capitalize on big points. I give a lot of credit to Idaho State. They played really tough and we're there. We just have to put the pieces together."
Despite what the scores say, the Lumberjacks battled in doubles play despite dropping two of the three matches. They received a win at No. 2 doubles by senior Patrick Schimmelbauer and junior Dominic Bermudez, their second of the week and seventh consecutive overall to improve to 8-1, but the Lumberjacks were on the short end at the other two positions. At No. 1, the two teams were tied at 3-3 before the Bengals' pair won five straight games to win 8-3, while at No. 3, senior Robert Martin and sophomore Trevor Unger battled back from an early 4-1 deficit before eventually falling 8-5.
Schimmelbauer broke through to begin singles play and notched his second win of the day with an impressive 6-2, 6-0, win at No. 1 over Christian Marian to tie the match at 1-1. The Bengals would proceed with wins at No. 2 and 5 to take a 3-1 advantage, but Bermudez answered for the Lumberjacks with a 6-2, 6-4, win at No. 4. Needing to win out to take the match, the Lumberjacks were unable to do so as the Bengals clinched the victory when Austin Miller knocked off junior Alan Barrios at No. 6, 6-2, 6-4.
The day would end on a high note though for the Lumberjacks as Martin pulled out his fourth consecutive victory and team-best ninth of the season. After dropping the first set and behind 5-4 in the second, Martin rallied for a tiebreak win in the second set to force a deciding third where he would defeat Nate Gross in a 10-point tiebreaker.
"In singles, Pat, Dom and Rob all played outstanding," Heckley said. "They fought every point and that's what it takes to win. We just have to get everyone else on board."
The Lumberjacks embark on their final road trip of the season next weekend with matches at Montana State and Montana on April 6 and 7.
2. Dominic Bermudez/Patrick Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Austin Miller/Jamey Swiggart (ISU), 8-4
3. Andres Coello/Krzysztof Stempien (ISU) def. Robert Martin/Trevor Unger (NAU), 8-5*
*Clinched Doubles Point
Order of Finish: (1, 3, 2)
1. Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Christian Marian (ISU), 6-2, 6-0
2. Norman (ISU) def. Waters (NAU), 6-4, 6-1
3. Bermudez (NAU) def. Stempien (ISU), 6-2, 6-4
4. Martin (NAU) def. Gross (ISU), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 1-0 (10-5)
5. Swiggart (ISU) def. Black (NAU), 6-3, 6-0
6. Miller (ISU) def. Alan Barrios (NAU), 6-2, 6-4**
Order of Finish: (1, 2, 5, 3, 6, 4)