GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Down 3-0 in the match, North Dakota rallied to stun the Northern Arizona men's tennis team on Saturday, denying the Lumberjacks their first Big Sky win of the season in come from behind fashion, 4-3. Despite the extremely hot start to the match, the Lumberjacks fell to 0-3 in the conference and 3-13 overall following their fifth defeat by the narrowest of margins in their last 10 matches.
"I give a lot of credit to UND," said men's tennis assistant coach Joseph Heckley. "They came to play and took care of the big points. They were the better team today and were resilient."
NAU's strong start to the match was buoyed by its second doubles sweep in as many days. After going 3-for-3 in doubles in its 9-0 win over St. Cloud State on Friday, the Lumberjacks repeated their performance on Saturday. Following an 8-2 win by the No. 3 team of senior Robert Martin and sophomore Trevor Unger, senior Patrick Schimmelbauer and junior Dominic Bermudez knocked off Grant Bakke and Ryan McGuigan, 8-5, at No. 2 to clinch the doubles point.
Martin and senior Shaun Waters then proceeded to win in straight sets at No. 5 and 2 singles respectively to put the Lumberjacks within one win of the team victory. However, North Dakota began to mount its comeback following a win at No. 6 and a three-set win at No. 4. After Connor Oberle muscled out a two-set win over Bermudez at No. 3 singles in which both sets required a tiebreaker, the match was even at 3-3 and came down to the top position. There, Schimmelbauer and Josh Oothoudt was locked in a three-setter after the players split the opening two sets, but Oothoudt would eventually emerge, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1, to cap off UND's comeback.
Martin improved to a team-best 7-8 this season with his win. In doubles, Schimmelbauer and Bermudez notched their fifth straight win and moved to 6-1, two wins more than any other NAU doubles tandem including Martin and Unger, who is 4-3 after their two wins this weekend.
The Lumberjacks will finally open their home schedule on Thursday, March 28, when they play host to Eastern Washington at 2 p.m. They will then host Idaho State next Sunday, March 31, at 1 p.m. with both matches to be played at Continental Country Club on the east side of Flagstaff. The two home matches this upcoming week will be part of a five match in five day stretch for the NAU tennis programs with the Lumberjack women's team playing on March 29 and 30 as well as April 1. Admission is free for all home tennis matches.
1. Kester Black/Shaun Waters (NAU) def. Connor Oberle/Josh Oothoudt (UND), 8-7
2. Dominic Bermudez/Patrick Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Grant Bakke/Ryan McGuigan (UND), 8-5*
3. Robert Martin/Trevor Unger (NAU) def. Will Biernat/Joe Lee (UND), 8-2
*Clinched Doubles Point
Order of Finish: (3, 2, 1)
1. Oothoudt (UND) def. Schimmelbauer (NAU), 6-2, 5-7, 6-1**
2. Waters (NAU) def. McGuigan (UND), 6-2, 6-4
3. Oberle (UND) def. Bermudez (NAU), 7-5, 7-6
4. Bakke (UND) def. Black (NAU), 6-0, 4-6, 6-2
5. Martin (NAU) def. Lee (UND), 6-3, 6-1
6. Biernat (UND) def. Unger (NAU), 6-2, 7-6
Order of Finish: (5, 2, 6, 4, 3, 1)