LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico State men’s tennis team faces Nevada, Friday, April 24 at 1 p.m. at the UH Tennis Complex in the quarterfinals of the 2009 WAC Championships in Honolulu. The Aggies earned the No. 5 seed at the tournament with a 12-10 overall and 2-4 WAC record while the Wolf Pack are the No. 4 seed after going 12-6 in the regular season with an even 3-3 league record.
This is the third straight season that the Aggies and Wolf Pack meet one another in the conference championships. Nevada won in 2007 in Boise, Idaho, 4-2, but the Aggies avenged that loss last year in Las Cruces with a 4-1 win to move onto the semifinals.
Neither Nevada nor New Mexico State is carrying any momentum on its backs heading into the quarterfinal match. The Wolf Pack has lost three of their final four matches and the Aggies lost four of their last five. The one win by both teams came over Utah State in each school’s regular season finale.
In the meeting between NM State and Nevada this season, the Wolf Pack edged the Aggies in Reno, 4-3. New Mexico State took the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and No. 3, but the Wolf Pack won at the top three singles positions and clinched the match with a win at No. 5. Nevada was ranked No. 67 in that match on April 10 while the Aggies were No. 73.
Head coach Don Ball feels that his team has a very good chance this time around to beat the Wolf Pack.
“The courts we played at in Reno were abysmal and not a true test between the teams,” Ball said. “With that being said, Nevada has a very good team and we’ll have our work cut out for us. The key for us will be to win the doubles point, which I think we will and we’re probably favored at the bottom four positions in singles. It’ll be a test, but we’ve played some outstanding teams very tough.”
Sophomore Arthur Surreaux and junior Eduardo Salas picked up NM State’s only singles victories in that loss to Nevada. Surreaux won at No. 4 over Benjamin David and Salas beat Kristian Kuharszky at the sixth spot.
Salas has been on fire for the Aggies as of late. He has a 9-2 record this season and has won six out of his last seven matches. Surreaux’s 14 singles victories are a team-high and nine of his 14 wins this spring have come in straight sets.
NM State’s top doubles team of senior Roman Stoisavljevic and Salas enter Friday’s match having won three straight, including a win over Fresno State’s top doubles team that was ranked No. 37 in the country. The Aggies have a 9-4 record this season when they win their doubles match.
In three previous WAC Championships, the Aggies have won their quarterfinal match twice. The first win came over Utah State in 2006.
The winner of Friday’s match moves on to the semifinals to face 20th-ranked and top-seeded Boise State, who enjoys a first-round bye. That match will be played at 1 p.m., Saturday.