GREELEY, Colo. — The NAU Men's Tennis team finished Big Sky Conference regular season competition after beating Northern Colorado 5-2 in Greeley. The Lumberjacks have increased to 10-1 in conference and 15-7 overall remaining in first place. The 'Jacks are now going straight into the Big Sky Conference tournament on a four-match winning streak and potentially the No. 1 seed for the first time since 1982.
"We are very proud to have garnered our first championship in more than 35 years," Director of Tennis Ki Kroll said. "We have our eyes set on postseason play now."
The Lumberjacks started strong against the Bears dominating in doubles on all courts and winning 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. NAU pair Sebastian Eguez and Felix Schumann beat UNC's Hayden Cramer and Alex Vakouftsis 6-4 to start before Tim Handel and Ruben Montano clinched the doubles point on court one. Handel and Montano, NAU's undefeated duo, now increased their undefeated streak to 12-0 and have finished the regular season at 9-0 in conference. Northern Arizona will go into postseason play with an accumulated 71 doubles wins overall and 43 in conference.
The 'Jacks went into singles 1-0 over the Bears and continued to dominate with wins from Thomas Fisher and Montano. Fisher started off with a 6-2, 6-1 win on court six over Alex Clerihew before Montano won on his court 6-4, 6-1. The Lumberjacks took a 3-0 lead before No. 13 Handel clinched the win at 4-0 to give the blue and gold one of the best season records they have had in program history. Although Northern Arizona already clinched the match, the Bears were able to respond with wins on courts two and three. The final score was 5-2 in Greeley ending the Bears season at home.
In addition to Northern Arizona, both Idaho and Sacramento State have clinched a spot in the conference tournament. The remaining three teams have yet to be determined. The last time the Lumberjacks won a Big Sky tournament title was in 1997. The Big Sky Conference tournament will start April 28 in Phoenix, Ariz. at the Phoenix Tennis Center.
- Tim Handel/Ruben Montano (NAU) def. Kyle Pease/Connor Finerty (UNC) 6-4
- Sebastian Eguez/Felix Schumann (NAU) def. Hayden Cramer/Alex Vakouftsis (UNC) 6-4
- Thomas Fisher/David Nguyen (NAU) def. Agustin Lombardi/Alex Clerihew (UNC) 7-5
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3
- Tim Handel (NAU) def. Connor Finerty (UNC) 7-5, 6-2
- Kyle Pease (UNC) def. Sebastian Eguez (NAU) 5-7, 6-2, 10-4
- Alex Vakouftsis (UNC) def. Felix Schumann (NAU) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
- Ruben Montano (NAU) def. Hayden Cramer (UNC) 6-4, 6-1
- David Nguyen (NAU) def. Agustin Lombardi (UNC) 7-5, 3-6, 10-3
- Thomas Fisher (NAU) def. Alex Clerihew (UNC) 6-2, 6-1
Order of Finish: 6, 4, 1*, 2, 5, 3