OGDEN, Utah – The Northern Arizona men's tennis team went into the season picked to finish eighth in the Big Sky Conference this season and the players proved the doubters wrong with a third place finish. After a 13 win season, Kester Black, Jordan Gobatie, Alexandre Locci and Fabio Tomasetti have been named to the All-Big Sky Honorable Mention team.
Last season the Lumberjacks had one player earn an All-Big Sky selection and in his first year at the helm for Northern Arizona head coach Ki Kroll led four players to All-Conference honors, the most since 2005.
"I am really excited for all four of them because they are so well-deserved," said Kroll with a big smile on his face. "Whenever you get an award it shows how hard you have worked and I am happy their hard work has paid off."
"Alexandre Locci made an immediate impact as a freshman and developed into a force on the No. 1 court at the end of the season. After beginning the season at No. 2, Locci went 8-8 in singles and continued to improve throughout the season. The native of France ended the season as the No. 1 for the Lumberjacks and went 3-2 in singles. The freshman went 6-4 in the Big Sky and will be one of the rising stars in the Big Sky for years to come.
"Alex came in and took care of his school work and on the tennis court," said Kroll. "He is a huge assest to this program and he will come back as a sophomore with great experience and I am looking for great things out of him."
Junior college transfer Gobatie came to NAU looking to be a major contributor Kroll's program and Gobatie did not disappoint as he finished second on the team in wins with 12. The native of Riverside, Calif. led the team in doubles victories with an impressive 13-6 record and 8-1 during conference play.
"Jordan brought leadership to the table and had a solid year," said Kroll. "He started off really well and became a good doubles player."
Tomasetti played his best tennis when it mattered the most, at the end of the season during Big Sky play. Tomasetti led Northern Arizona in singles wins during conference with eight at the No. 3 position. The native of Germany ended his freshman campaign with a 13-8 overall record in singles.
"Fabio might have had the best year out of everybody especially in singles," said Kroll. "He has done everything we asked of him and he has had an excellent season."
Black came in as NAU's top returner from last season and proved to be a steady force at the No. 4 position. The native of Scotland ended the season with the most wins on the team and an overall record of 15-6 in singles with an impressive 7-2 record in conference. Black ended the regular season on a five-match winning streak in singles.
"Kester has really stepped up and has become a leader this year," said Kroll. "He is the type of player you can count on that will give 100 percent and give his heart and soul into the match."
These four players help lead Northern Arizona to a 13 win season, the most wins since 2010.