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February 17, 2011

Men’s Tennis to Face No. 58 New Mexico State, Two Others in Las Cruces

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Following an 11-day layoff, the Northern Arizona men's tennis team returns to action this weekend with a challenging three-match set in Las Cruces, N.M. The Lumberjacks (2-4) will begin weekend play on Friday against No. 58 New Mexico State (4-4), face Division-II power Western New Mexico (4-1) on Saturday, and close their trip against Texas-San Antonio (2-2) on Sunday. All three matches will played at the state-of-the-art New Mexico State Tennis Center.

After starting the season 2-0, the Lumberjacks have dropped four straight matches, including two losses to nationally ranked opponents. As was the case last season, Northern Arizona has again been led this year by the back end of its lineup, as junior Josh Brown has a team-leading 4-2 singles record at No. 5 and 6 and freshman Dominic Bermudez has a 3-3 mark at No. 4 and 5. In doubles play, NAU has been paced by senior David Flodberg and junior Robin Pezzutto with a 2-0 record at No. 3, while Bermudez and sophomore Hugo Ramadier also have a pair of doubles wins on the season.

New Mexico State started the season ranked No. 67, dropped from the rankings after a 1-4 start, but is ranked again at No. 58 after three-straight wins, including a 4-3 win over No. 40 Denver. The Aggies are 1-1 at home, with a win over No. 66 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and a loss to Utah State, but have not played in Las Cruces since January 22. Senior Arthur Surreaux leads the team at No. 1 singles and is ranked No. 75 nationally. The Lumberjacks are 4-20 all-time against New Mexico State, with their last win over the Aggies coming in 2005.

Western New Mexico is among the elite Division-II men's tennis programs in the nation, carrying a No. 32 Division-II national ranking. The Mustangs are 4-1 this season, with their only loss coming in their only previous match with a Division-I foe - a 7-0 setback at New Mexico. The Mustangs and the Lumberjacks share one common opponent, Grand Canyon, which defeated NAU, 4-3, but was topped by Western New Mexico, 5-4 (D-II uses best-of-nine scoring). Senior Yair Banuelos is ranked No. 50 nationally in D-II singles play and teams with junior Henning Thrien to form the No. 33 doubles team. NAU is undefeated in two all-time meetings with the Mustangs.

The Roadrunners of Texas-San Antonio begin the week at 2-2 and will face New Mexico and New Mexico State before meeting the Lumberjacks. UTSA has wins over St. Edward's and Prairie View A&M and losses to Laredo Community College and No. 34 Rice. Sophomore Martin Ayala leads the team with a 3-1 record at No. 1 singles and 3-1 mark with senior Daniel Moreiras at No. 1 doubles. Northern Arizona is 0-3 all-time against the Roadrunners, with the teams' last meeting in 2009.