GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The Northern Arizona Men's Tennis team has clinched the regular season championship for the first time since 1982, with just one match left before the Big Sky Conference tournament. After today's 5-2 win against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks, the Lumberjacks have increased to 9-1 in the Big Sky and 14-7 overall. The Lumberjacks have an undefeated 7-0 home season record and are 9-1 in their last ten matches.
"To bring home a championship to Flagstaff for the first time in more than 30 years is a testament to the improvement of our tennis programs," Director of Tennis Ki Kroll said.
The Lumberjacks got off to a slow start this afternoon against the Fighting Hawks losing in doubles 6-4, 7-5. NAU's Tim Handel and Ruben Montano were the sole pair to win on their court in doubles giving the 'Jacks the lead before they were defeated. Handel and Montano beat UND's Dustin Britton and Travis Lau 6-4. The two added to their undefeated winning streak now 11-0 and going 8-0 in conference. Northern Arizona now has an accumulated 68 doubles wins, 40 of which have been conference victories.
Going into singles, the Lumberjacks were still off to a slow start retiring on court two to give the Fighting Hawks a 2-0 lead. With David Nguyen's 6-3, 6-0 win over UND's Matt Hokanson, the Lumberjacks were finally on the board. Building off of that momentum, both Montano and Felix Schumann picked up wins of their own giving NAU the lead at 3-2. Junior Sebastian Eguez then clinched the win at 4-2 with a 6-3, 7-5 win on court three. This match-clinching win marks Eguez's 11th win this season and sixth in conference. No. 13 Handel finished the match for the 'Jacks winning every set on court one 7-5, 6-4, 10-6 to end the match 5-2 over the Fighting Hawks.
Northern Arizona has picked up their first regular season championship in 35 years and are aiming for a conference title. The last time the Lumberjacks won a Big Sky tournament title was in 1997. The Idaho Vandals, who are 7-2 and in second place, still have chance to share the title with the Lumberjacks. With one match remaining for the 'Jacks, their eyes are now set on postseason action.
"The men have been working extremely hard," said Kroll. "And they will continue to improve for our next match and the ones after."
The Lumberjacks will return on the court Sunday, April 16 against Northern Colorado. The match is set for 10 a.m. and will be the final time the 'Jacks compete in the regular season.
- Tim Handel/Ruben Montano (NAU) def. Dustin Britton/Travis Lau (UND) 6-4
- Ty Misialek/Simon Danyluk (UND) def. Sebastian Eguez/Felix Schumann (NAU) 7-6(5)
- Alex Mailes/Matt Hokanson (UND) def. Lucas Taylor/Thomas Fisher (NAU) 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2
- Tim Handel (NAU) def. Dustin Britton (UND) 7-5, 6-4, 10-6
- Travis Lau (UND) def. Lucas Taylor (NAU) 7-6(2), retired
- Sebastian Eguez (NAU) def. Ty Misialek (UND) 6-3, 7-5
- Felix Schumann (NAU) def. Simon Danyluk (UND) 6-3, 6-2
- Ruben Montano (NAU) def. Alex Mailes (UND) 6-1, 6-3
- David Nguyen (NAU) def. Matt Hokanson (UND) 6-3, 6-0
Order of Finish: 2, 6, 4, 5, 3*, 1