FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University Men's Tennis team will travel to New Mexico for their last road match before their season's home opener. The Lumberjacks will face the New Mexico Lobos Tuesday, March 14 after losing to UNLV 4-1. The 'Jacks are going into this match 5-5 overall and 2-0 in conference.
Director of Tennis Ki Kroll is confident in the team's ability to continue to improve, with hopes to get another win before hosting for the first time this season. The Lumberjacks have won 10 doubles wins and 29 singles wins. The 'Jacks roster includes sophomores Lucas Taylor and Tim Handel, who both have received Big Sky Player of the Week honors this season.
This match starts a four-match week for Northern Arizona. The 'Jacks will compete against Idaho Thursday and face UC Riverside and Southern Utah in a double header on Friday.
- The Lumberjacks finished the 2016 regular season in 3rd place behind Idaho and Weber State.
- As of Jan. 4, sophomore Tim Handel sits at No. 13 in the Mountain Regional singles rankings.
- Lucas Taylor and Tim Handel have both been received Big Sky Player of the Week honors in the 2017 season.
Match Day: Tuesday, March 14
Match Time: 11:00 a.m.
Match Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
The Lobos are coming off a 3-4 loss to the UC Irvine Anteaters and are currently on a four-match losing streak. New Mexico is 6-9 overall going into the match against the Lumberjacks. The last time these two teams matched up, the Lobos swept the 'Jacks 7-0.
A member of the Mountain West Conference, the Lobos are led by Ben Dunbar. New Mexico will compete against the Lumberjacks in their last non-conference match before conference competition. The Lobos will open up conference at home against Fresno State March 31.
The Lumberjacks have three more matches this week against the Idaho Vandals, the UC Riverside Highlanders and the Southern Utah Thunderbirds. Northern Arizona will return home to host Idaho in their first home match of the season Thursday, March 16 at 10 a.m. The following day, the Lumberjacks will host a double header against the Highlanders at 10 a.m. and the Thunderbirds at 2 p.m., respectively. All matches are free for those who attend.
This fall, NAU competed in five tournaments at the University of Arizona, ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., University of New Mexico, ITA Mountain Regionals in Las Vegas, Nev. and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Nearly all the Lumberjacks saw preseason action with standout sophomore Tim Handel leading in singles and pairing with transfer Sebastian Eguez in No. 1 doubles. The sophomore went into the ITA Mountain Regionals No. 17 and upped his ranking after his impressive run to the quarterfinals. Now ranked No. 13, Handel became the first athlete in school history to receive a singles ranking in men's tennis in at least 15 years. Felix Schumann and Lucas Taylor also proved ready for this season after winning more than a combined six singles wins. In doubles, Thomas Fisher paired with Handel and Adi Zilberstein for a combined seven wins.
"We have a very deep team this year, so I'm looking forward to season," said Kroll. "We are young and last year was a learning experience for us, but this year I know we are ready to take things to the next level, especially after the fall season we had."