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September 9, 2009

Men’s Tennis to Open Fall Schedule at Aggie Invitational

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona men’s tennis team will begin fall tournament play this weekend at the Aggie Invitational, hosted by New Mexico State in Las Cruces, N.M. Joining NAU and host New Mexico State in the competition will be Arizona and Division-II schools Abilene Christian and Western New Mexico.

The schools will compete in two singles and one doubles draw, both of which will have back draws to ensure players compete in several matches. Friday’s play begins at 9 a.m. and continues through Sunday.

“With almost an entirely new team, I’m really looking to see where we’re at,” said head coach Kim Bruno. “I have really high hopes for all the new recruits and the returning players, so this will be a great gauge of our ability to contend in the Big Sky. It will also be a good chance for the new guys and the returners to get some matches under their belt.”

The tournament should be a good opening test for the Lumberjacks, as Arizona was ranked as high as No. 17 nationally last season while Abilene Christian finished the 2009 spring campaign ranked No. 14 in Division-II. For the host Aggies, Gustavo Diep returns for his senior season after opening 2008 ranked No. 107 nationally in singles and finishing the spring with a 14-9 record.

“The level of competition is really what we want,” added Bruno. “I expect a tournament win from someone this weekend and that has to be our goal going into tournaments. We really have been focused on getting some results this week in practice and hopefully we’ll see that this weekend.”

Northern Arizona went 7-17 during the 2009 spring season and fell to Montana in the big Sky Quarterfinals. The Lumberjacks return no seniors in 2009, but will look to be led by sophomore Andrew Reiff and junior David Flodberg, who were named All-Big Sky First Team and Honorable Mention last season, respectively. The Jacks also welcome five freshmen as well as one transfer, who will be seeing their first action at NAU this weekend.

“I can confidently say that we will blow last year’s results away,” Bruno said emphatically. “We have more depth, we have more doubles players, and we have better players at the top. It’s just going to be better all around.”