SEDONA, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona men's tennis overcame blustery conditions and blew by Southern Utah, 7-0, on Saturday at the Enchantment Resort to capture its first Big Sky victory of the season. The Lumberjacks moved to 1-7 in the conference and 4-17 overall with the win, giving themselves much-needed momentum as they enter their final two matches of the season next weekend.
"We're happy with the win," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "It's been a while and the guys have been competing in every match so it was time for us to take it. We have two matches left with two tough teams coming onto our home court and all we can do is move forward and have more confidence. We're going to celebrate today and be pumped up for next weekend."
The Lumberjacks picked up the doubles point to begin the match by winning the best two-of-three doubles. After the two teams split the first two doubles at No. 1 and 3, the doubles point came down to the No. 2 position where NAU would clinch it when senior Patrick Schimmelbauer and junior Dominic Bermudez defeated Alex Dial and Spencer Nielsen, 8-3. The win pushed Schimmelbauer and Bermudez into the double-digits as the pair is now an impressive 10-2 this season and 6-1 against conference opponents.
The doubles win set the tone for the Lumberjacks as they breezed through singles play, sweeping all six matches in straight-sets. Senior Robert Martin got things started with a shutout 6-0, 6-0 victory at No. 3 and became the first player on the team to reach 10 singles victories this spring. Bermudez followed with a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 2 and sophomore Kester Black sealed up the team's first Big Sky victory with a 6-1, 6-0 triumph at No. 4.
Schimmelbauer proceeded to win at No. 1, 6-1, 6-2, before the Lumberjacks' No. 5 and 6 players – junior Alan Barrios and freshman Sarp Laleli – wrapped up the day with wins at the final two spots. Barrios picked up his first victory of the spring in dominant fashion, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 5 and Laleli notched his second win of the season, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 6.
As a team, the Lumberjacks did not drop more than two games in any set in singles play and had its best singles showing since their last team win on March 22.
"We cleaned things up a little bit," Bruno said. "It's tough to win 6-0 no matter what opponent you play against. A little cleaner in the big points allowed us to do things that they couldn't and that's what we've been needing."
NAU concludes its season next Saturday and Sunday versus Weber State and Portland State. Both matches will be played in Sedona once again at the Enchantment Resort. The Lumberjacks will host Weber State on Saturday at approximately 2 p.m. following the NAU women's tennis match in the morning and then will host Portland State at 10 a.m. on Sunday for Senior Day. Next weekend's matches will be the final contests in the career for the team's three seniors, Schimmelbauer, Martin and Shaun Waters.
1. Troy Benson/Bryton Wells (SUU) def. Kester Black/Shaun Waters (NAU), 8-4
2. Dominic Bermudez/Patrick Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Alex Dial/Spencer Nielsen (SUU), 8-3*
3. Robert Martin/Trevor Unger (NAU) def. Russ Christensen/Branden Olcott (SUU), 8-2
*Clinched Doubles Point
Order of Finish: (3, 1, 2)
1. Schimmelbauer (NAU) def. Benson (SUU), 6-1, 6-2
2. Bermudez (NAU) def. Wells (SUU), 6-0, 6-2
3. Martin (NAU) def. Dial (SUU), 6-0, 6-0
4. Black (NAU) def. Nielsen (SUU), 6-1, 6-0**
5. Alan Barrios (NAU) def. Christensen (SUU), 6-0, 6-0
6. Sarp Laleli (NAU) def. Olcott (SUU), 6-1, 6-2
Order of Finish: (3, 2, 4, 1, 5, 6)