LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Northern Arizona men's tennis team could not capitalize on match point at No. 3 doubles to earn the doubles point for the first time in five matches and as a result, the Lumberjacks fell short to No. 73 Ball State, 5-2, on Friday at the Fertitta Tennis Complex despite playing the Cardinals tough throughout the match.
"It's tough to lose when it's this close," said assistant coach Joseph Heckley. "We lost 5-2, but we could've won 4-3. We should've had it in doubles against a ranked team; we were a match point away from getting the doubles point and then we competed in singles. Ball State has a lot of depth and we were right there with them."
After the Cardinals took the first doubles match at No. 1, sophomore Dominic Bermudez and junior Patrick Schimmelbauer responded with the crucial win at No. 2 for the Lumberjacks to force the winner-take-all at No. 3. There, junior Robert Martin and senior Robin Pezzutto held match point, but the Cardinals' duo of Patrick Elliott and Austin Sansone forced a tiebreaker, where they'd take the match and give Ball State the critical doubles point.
Freshman Steven Say made his collegiate debut at No. 6 singles, but was dispatched in the first completed singles match by Elliott, 6-0, 6-1. Ball State proceeded to take wins at No. 5 and 2 to clinch the match, but the Lumberjacks wouldn't go down without a fight.
Schimmelbauer continued his recent surge, defeating Alexandre Brym, 6-2, 6-4, for his third win in four matches since moving into the No. 4 spot. Junior Shaun Waters followed with a win at No. 3 by the same score to snap his personal losing streak of three matches. Pezzutto was close to giving the Lumberjacks the split in singles play, but could not close out the match at the top spot despite winning the first set.
"I'm not happy with losing but there's a lot we can take away from this match when we play Utah State and UNLV," Heckley said. "The fact that we lost is not good, but we got some confidence out of it. We can see ourselves improving and that's good."
The Lumberjacks were originally scheduled to play UNLV on Saturday and Utah State on Sunday, but a slight change of schedule has swapped NAU's two opponents. Now, they will head back to the Fertitta Tennis Complex for their second match of a three-day stay in Las Vegas to play Utah State on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
1. Dalton Albertin/Ray Leonard (BSU) def. Trevor Unger/Shaun Waters (NAU), 8-3
2. Dominic Bermudez/Patrick Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Derek Carpenter/Zane Smith (BSU), 9-7
3. Patrick Elliott/Austin Sansone (BSU) def. Robert Martin/Robin Pezzutto (NAU), 9-8 (8-6)*
*Clinched Doubles Point
Order of Finish: (1, 2, 3)
1. Albertin (BSU) def. Pezzutto (NAU), 3-6, 6-3, 10-4
2. Leonard (BSU) def. Bermudez (NAU), 6-2, 6-1**
3. Waters (NAU) def. Z. Smith (BSU), 6-2, 6-4
4. Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Alexandre Brym (BSU), 6-2, 6-4
5. Austin Smith (BSU) def. Martin (NAU), 6-1, 6-1
6. Elliott (BSU) def. Steven Say (NAU), 6-0, 6-1
Order of Finish: (6, 5, 2, 4, 3, 1)