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September 19, 2013

Men’s Tennis Begins Fall Schedule in Las Cruces

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona men's tennis team will start its 2013-2014 campaign this weekend in Las Cruces, N.M. at the New Mexico State Fall Invitational.  The Lumberjacks will face some tough schools including the University of Arizona, New Mexico, Western New Mexico and Abilene Christian. The Lumberjacks return four players in junior Kester Black, junior Alan Barrios, sophomore Sarp Laleli and junior Trevor Unger. In his first season as the Northern Arizona men's tennis head coach, Ki Kroll brings in four newcomers to his program.

"We are all very excited for the season to start," said Kroll. "Fall season is a great measuring tool for the guys to see how they compete against these universities. The guys are practicing and competing at a high level in practice so I am excited to see what we have."

Top returner Black, had a solid season posting an 8-13 singles record last season at the No. 4 and 5 position. The native of Scotland will compete this week in the White Singles Flight where he will first face-off against Abilene Christian's Nico Agritelley. In the first round Black will have a new partner this year in double, after primarily teaming up with Shaun Waters last season, as he will now share the court with Unger this weekend in Las Cruces.

"I am looking for the returners to be good role models," said Kroll. "I want them to display a good work ethic for the team and so the rest of the team will fall into place."

When it comes to the season, Kroll is looking for more than just wins but also who fits into what position.  The fall is a chance for players to battle for positions, improve their game and see what players work well together on the court.

"Both the newcomers and the returners are trying to prove where they belong since this is my first year at Northern Arizona," said Kroll. "It will be interesting to see which players come out nervous or cold and I want to see how the players handle the pressure and compete in each match."

The first matches will begin bright and early on Friday morning at 9 a.m. starting off with singles play.