FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona men's tennis team (2-7) will look to end a seven-match slide this weekend in Albuquerque, N.M. with a Saturday doubleheader against No. 60 New Mexico (5-2) at 9:30 a.m. and Division-II power Abilene Christian (2-2) at 2:30 pm. Saturday's matches will be the last for NAU before opening both its home and conference schedules next Saturday, March 5, against Portland State in Flagstaff Athletic Club East.
NAU dropped three matches last weekend in Las Cruces, N.M., with food poisoning forcing the Lumberjacks to default a pair of matches on Sunday without the services of junior Robin Pezzutto and sophomore Hugo Ramadier. Northern Arizona is winless since opening the season with victories over Scottsdale Community College and UC Riverside. Pezzutto should return this weekend after leading the team with singles and doubles victories against No. 58 New Mexico State last Friday.
New Mexico will be the fourth ranked opponent for NAU already this season, as the Lobos begin the week ranked No. 60 nationally. At 5-2, New Mexico's only losses came in Tucson at No. 43 Arizona and in a neutral site match against No. 50 San Diego. The Lobos are paced by outstanding doubles play from two nationally-ranked tandems. Junior Phil Anderson and sophomore Jadon Phillips are ranked No. 45 nationally in doubles while the pair of Ben Dunbar and Conor Berg check in at No. 64. NAU is winless in 20 all-time matches against New Mexico.
Abilene Christian is ranked No. 13 nationally in Division-II and has several players ranked in singles and doubles. Despite its D-II standing, Abilene Christian has seven Division-I opponents on its 2011 schedule. So far, the Wildcats have dropped matches to Division-I foes Rice and Lamar and have wins over Trinity and Prairie View A&M. Freshman Hans Hoch is ranked No. 17 nationally in D-II while junior Eldad Campbell sits at No. 49. Hoch teams with senior Bryan Joiner to form the No. 6 doubles team in the nation, while Jake Hendrie and Nick Plum form the No. 30 doubles team in D-II. The Lumberjacks and Wildcats have met just once before in men's tennis, a 5-2 win for ACU in 2009.