Dunbar looking for fourth straight singles win
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The 57th-ranked University of New Mexico men's tennis team hits the road Saturday afternoon, heading to Las Cruces, N.M. to take on interstate rival New Mexico State. The Lobos hit the court at the NMSU Tennis Center at 1 P.M. MST.
The Lobos (3-3) look to pick up a win against the 73rd-ranked Aggies on the first seven matches on the road. The match against New Mexico State will be the first outdoors for the Lobos this spring. The Aggies are 3-2 this spring. New Mexico was last in action this past Sunday, Feb. 14, shutting out Abilene Christian, 7-0.
OPPONENT SCOUTING REPORT
New Mexico holds a decisive advantage in the 96-match series with NMSU, having won 87 and lost nine. The Lobos took a 5-2 decision when these two last met during the 2009 season.
Coach Don Ball’s Aggies are coming off a 5-1 win at Cal Poly last weekend. NMSU has Jim Brouleau playing in the No. 1 spot in singles play. Gustave Diep and Eduardo Salas is the Aggies top doubles team. New Mexico State finished 13-11 last season, 2-4 in Western Athletic Play.
Despite the Lobos’ one-sided history against New Mexico State, coach Alan Dils knows better than to look past the Aggies.
“It’s a great rivalry,” Dils said. “They look forward to playing us every year and we look forward to playing them. We’ve managed to be fairly successful going down there, but they’ve got a really good team – very talented team – and they’ll be ready for us.
“We’ll be ready for them, too. We’re going to have to play very well to beat them – especially on their courts. The guys are geared up for this. We’ve had a good week of practice.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Sophomore Ben Dunbar looks to notch his fourth straight singles match win Saturday afternoon. Now playing the No. 1 spot for the Lobos, Dunbar is 4-1 in singles play this spring. The Lobos also look to emphasize getting off to a fast start again after doing so with success last Sunday against Abilene Christian
ABILENE CHRISTIAN RECAP
The University of New Mexico men’s tennis team wasted little time in dispatching of Abilene Christian Sunday afternoon at the Linda Estes Tennis Center, sweeping the visiting Wildcats, 7-0.
The Lobos are now 3-3 this spring while ACU drops to 1-3.
The Lobos’ focus on a quick start in doubles play paid immediate dividends. New Mexico relinquished only nine games while wrapping up doubles play in just under an hour. The Lobos’ Joe Wood and Ben Dunbar played in the No. 1 doubles position, beating ACU’s Luke Hawk and John Strahl 8-5.
That would prove to be as close as the Wildcats would get in doubles play. The Lobos dominated the next two matches, with Phil Anderson and Jadon Phillips beating Eldad Campbell and Prett Proctor, 8-2. Carl Ho and Conor Berg beat Jared Hope and Karl Bein, 8-2, as well.
New Mexico carried its momentum from doubles play into singles play, winning all six matches. Dunbar beat Campbell, 6-4, 6-4, in what proved to be the only close match of the bunch. Dunbar, new to the No. 1 spot in singles for the Lobos, has now won three consecutive singles matches.
“Ben’s been doing a good job,” New Mexico head coach Alan Dils said. “It’s his first time at the No. 1 position and the kid he played is obviously a very good athlete and solid player. Ben had to play very well to beat him. I think Ben’s been playing better and better, and it showed today. He’s striking the ball very well and moving better than he ever has.”
“It was a good match,” Dunbar said. “I didn’t play quite as well as I wanted to, really, but I got the win. That’s what’s important.
“The emphasis today was coming out with lots of energy and getting off to a good start with the doubles. We really tried to make an issue of coming out and being consistent from the start.”
Ho played in the No. 2 spot for the first time this spring, making short work of Strahl, 6-0, 6-1.
“We had a pretty good week of practice after playing Denver last Sunday,” Ho said. “It felt good out there today. It was all about energy and focus for us today – especially in doubles play.”
“Carl did a good job,” Dils said. “It’s his first match away from No. 1 and he beats his guy 6-0, 6-1.”
Phillips gave up a couple of games early, but went on to cruise to a 6-2, 6-0 win over Hawk.
“We won all the doubles and all the singles, so today was a pretty good day,” Phillips said. “We came out with great energy today. We’re a team, so all of us have to be there at 100 percent. Today my returns were very good. I was mentally strong and my footwork, hustle and serve were working for me today as well.”
Jadon just keeps getting better every match,” Dils said. “I’m really pleased with where he’s at and the things he’s putting into play. The sky is the limit for him.”
As to his overall impressions of the day’s matches, Dils couldn’t have been much happier with his team’s performance.
“I was happy with the day,” Dils said. “We worked hard all week on a couple of items – namely doubles. I think the guys came out with good energy in doubles play and it carried over to singles as well.”
Despite some early struggles this spring against some of the top-ranked teams in the nation, Dils sees real improvement from the fall season.
“Starting in the fall, I would not have thought we’d have gotten this good yet, considering how young we are and how much we had to work on,” Dils said. “I think, in my mind, we’re ahead of where I would have put us at this point in the season.
“That being said, I still think we’ve got a lot of things to work on. But, that’s normal with a young team. They’ve got a great attitude about it and are working very hard. That’s a big part of why I think they’re ahead of where I thought we might be at this point.”
2008-09 SEASON RECAP QUICK HITS
• 20-6 finish, second season with 20 wins
• Best winning percentage since the 1984 season
• Best start through 17 matches (15-2) since 1984
• Ranked in the Top 45 nationally all season, including at a season-high No. 32, and finished at No.49
• Won three matches to clinch the Mountain West Conference tournament championship
• First NCAA team appearance since 2004 and 11th overall; Lost to Minnesota, 4-0, in the opening round
• Johnny Parkes: MWC Player of the Year, ITA Regional Senior of the Year; 1-1 at the NCAA Singles Championship; finished career with all-time mark of 97-42, most singles wins by a Lobo
• Head coach Alan Dils earned the MWC Coach of the Year and ITA Mountain Region Coach of the Year honors
• Parkes and Graeme Kassautzki made All-MWC singles team; Parkes and Miles Bugby made All-MWC doubles
SERVING UP A CURE
The University of New Mexico men's and women's tennis teams are partnering up with the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association (ALSA) to help in the fight against ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The tennis teams will coordinate a season-long campaign, Serving Up A Cure, to help raise money for ALS research.
Serving Up A Cure will allow people to get involved in a couple of different ways. Donors can pledge money per match or per set won for either the men's or women's tennis teams. Forms to make donations and instructions for submitting them can be found at GOLOBOS.com on either the men's or women's tennis page.
ALS affects adults of all ages, sexes and races. Every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease and every 90 minutes someone dies from this disease. There is no known cause or cure and the cost for an ALS patient is $200,000 per year.
Please help the men's and women's tennis teams fight against ALS. For more information contact Roy Cañada at email@example.com
or at 925-5780.