PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona Men's Tennis team dropped a tough match in the Big Sky Conference Tournament Semifinals to the No. 4 seed University of Montana with a final score of 4-3. It was a heart-breaking end to one of the program's best seasons. Director of Tennis Ki Kroll and the Lumberjacks' finished the 2017 season with an overall 15-9 and 10-2 in conference record.
"We gave it everything we had until the end and fought hard," Director of Tennis Ki Kroll. "Unfortunately, we were not able to come away with the win."
Northern Arizona dominated in doubles winning 6-1, 6-2 with wins from undefeated pair Tim Handel and Ruben Montano and Lucas Taylor and Thomas Fisher. Handel and Montano continued to do what they have been all season with a dominating 6-1 performance over Montana's Max Korkh and Peter Mimnagh-Fleming. The doubles point was then clinched with Taylor and Fisher's 6-2 win over Ludvig Hallgren and Victor Casadevall. The Lumberjacks continued to fight hard in singles.
The match went back and forth until the end between two seemingly even-matched opponents. It came down to Sebastian Eguez, Montano and Taylor after the Grizzlies tied it up 2-2 at the No. 4 and No. 6 positions. Eguez fell to Mimnagh-Fleming winning the first set 6-2 and then falling 7-5, 6-2 to put Montana in the lead 3-2 overall. At the No. 5 position, Montano won the first set, before Montana took the second. With it all tied up, the third set started. Montano was down 1-5, before he started to make a comeback winning the set 7-5 and his court to tie it up for the blue and gold.
With one court left, all eyes were on the No. 2 position where Taylor was facing Montana's Yannick Schmidl. Taylor lost the first set 2-6, before winning the second 6-3. The match was up to the final set in which the two remained tied up until 5-5. With a slight breeze and an intense atmosphere, Schmidl was able to overcome Taylor winning 7-5 to clinch the court and the match.
"It is a tough way to end, but I'm incredibly proud of the season we have had," Director of Tennis Ki Kroll said. "We had one of the best seasons at NAU and the program is moving in the right direction."
Today's loss to Montana concludes the 2017 campaign for the Lumberjacks. Handel finished the season with a team-best 17-6 singles record, closely followed by Montano's 14-7 mark. In doubles, the two ended undefeated at 14-0.
- Tim Handel/Ruben Montano (NAU) def. Max Korkh/Peter Mimnagh-Fleming (UM) 6-1
- Felix Schumann/Sebastian Eguez (NAU) vs. Yannick Schmidl/Alex Canellopoulos (UM) 3-3
- Lucas Taylor/Thomas Fisher (NAU) def. Victor Casadevall/Ludvig Hallgren (UM) 6-2
Order of finish: 1, 3
- Tim Handel (NAU) def. Victor Casadevall (UM) 6-4, 6-4
- Yannick Schmidl (UM) def. Lucas Taylor (NAU) 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
- Peter Mimnagh-Fleming (UM) def. Sebastian Eguez (NAU) 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
- Alex Canellopoulos (UM) def. Felix Schumann (NAU) 6-2, 6-3
- Ruben Montano (NAU) def. Max Korkh (UM) 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
- Ignacio Tejerina (UM) def. David Nguyen (NAU) 6-1, 6-3
Order of finish: 4, 6, 1, 5, 3, 2