FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Men's tennis head coach Ki Kroll will lead his squad down to Tucson, Ariz. to face the University of Arizona for the team's first match of the season on Friday, Jan. 24. The Lumberjacks bring a lot of new faces to the program this season and Kroll will unveil his newcomers who expect to be key contributors for NAU this season.
"We are very excited about the matches at hand this weekend," said Kroll. "Everybody has been working hard and it will give us a good chance to see where we are as a team."
Northern Arizona's top returner is junior Kester Black who had the third most wins on last year's team and will look to lead the Lumberjacks to the Big Sky Championships for the first time since 2011. The Lumberjacks go into the season picked to finish eight in the Big Sky preseason poll after finishing 10th last season.
The Lumberjacks had an exceptional fall season that concluded in Las Vegas, Nev. at the UNLV Easley Invite. NAU saw great improvements from their young freshmen Fabio Tomasetti and Alexandre Locci, and junior college transfer Jordan Gobatie. At the ITA Mountain Region Championships in Las Vegas, the Lumberjacks were able to pick up six wins in singles play against the top competition in the Mountain region.
A new era begins this year for the Northern Arizona men's tennis program under
roll. Dr. Lisa Campos, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, hired Kroll on August 11 to take over the men's tennis program after reviving the program at Southern Mississippi where he spent the last three years. Before that, he spent five years at Vassar College. After a rough 2013 season, Kroll has brought new life and energy to the Northern Arizona men's tennis program that has both players and the administration excited about the future of Lumberjack tennis.
"I have loved my time in Flagstaff thus far. I am happy with the people I work with and I feel like we are putting a team in place that will make a significant impact over time," said Kroll. "My players are happy and I am happy and I feel when everyone is happy then everyone tends to work a little harder to prove that we are building something great here in Flagstaff."
The Lumberjacks will begin play against the Wildcats on Friday at 12:30 p.m.