Men's Tennis: Lobos Heading to Twin Cities to Face a Pair of Ranked Foes
New Mexico squares off against No. 46 Minnesota, No. 22 Washington
Minneapolis, Minn. -- The University of New Mexico men’s tennis team will play matches two and three of its eight-match road swing this weekend against a pair of top-50 teams. The Lobos face 46th-ranked Minnesota at the Golden Gopher's Baseline Tennis Center at 4 p.m. MST, then cap off their trip to the Twin Cities against No. 22 Washington Saturday at 1 p.m.
New Mexico is ranked 54th in this week’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association national rankings with a 3-4 record. The Lobos haven’t had a match since a 4-3 loss to New Mexico State on Feb. 20.
In facing Minnesota, New Mexico starts its weekend play with a rematch of last year's NCAA tournament opening round. The Golden Gophers won 4-0 in Los Angeles.
Minnesota leads the all-time series over New Mexico 6-3, while Washington leads 6-2.
“These are both very good teams - very experienced NCAA-caliber teams,” Lobo coach Alan Dils said. “We of course know Minnesota very well now, having played them last year. We know a lot of their guys.
“We know we can compete with them. We know we have a chance to win that match every time we step out if we put our best foot forward. We’re looking forward to it.”
The Gophers are ranked 46th in this week's national rankings with a 4-4 record. Minnesota is coming off a weekend split of road matches, having lost at Oklahoma and won at Southern Methodist last weekend.
Tobias Wernet has been the team's hottest player with four straight wins to run his season record to 12-6. Wernet is ranked 111th in the nation, while Sebastian Gallego is ranked 77th. Gallego has lost two of his last three outings and sits at 11-5 for the season.
The Gophers have been strong in doubles play with a combined 12-2 record in doubles matches over the past five outings. Minnesota has won the doubles point in four of the last five matches.
“Instead of facing them outdoors, now we’re facing them indoors at their home site,” Dils said. “So it’s a little different from when we played them the last time. They’re a very good team. I think we’re ready for that challenge, but we know it’s going to be a very difficult match.”
The Huskies have won six straight matches to run its record to 11-1 following a 7-0 loss to Illinois. Washington downed Oregon 5-2 and Nevada 7-0 last weekend.
Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan is ranked 56th individually and owns a 14-6 record for the season. He and Kyle McMorrow also have teamed to form the nation's 50th-ranked doubles tandem.
“(Washington) is one more really good team to play and see how we stack up against these top-level teams,” Dils said. “Especially for the younger guys on the team – to see what a 22 or 23-level team looks like and be able to say, ‘hey, we’re that close to them. We can beat these guys if we put our best foot forward and everybody steps up and plays very well.’”
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Lobo sophomore Ben Dunbar looks to extend his four-match singles’ winning streak. Dunbar has played in the No. 1 singles spot in his last two matches, winning 6-4, 6-4 against Abilene Christian’s Eldad Campbell and 7-5, 2-0 (DQ) against New Mexico State’s Jim Brouleau. Dunbar has also picked up wins in his last two doubles matches, pairing with freshman Jadon Phillips to beat Abilene Christian’s Luke Hawk and John Strahl 8-5 and NMSU’s Jim Diep and Eduardo Salas 9-7.
Carl Ho has also won his last two matches since moving from the No. 1 to the No 2 spot in singles, beating ACU’s Strahl 6-0, 6-1 and the Aggies’ Gustev Diep 6-3, 4-6, (11-9). Phil Anderson is looking for his third straight singles win from the No. 3 spot.
NEW MEXICO STATE RECAP
The University of New Mexico men’s tennis team lost, 4-3, to New Mexico State Saturday afternoon at a blustery New Mexico State University Tennis Complex. It’s the first time the Lobos lose to the Aggies since Aug. 5, 2000, and only the 10th time in 97 matches between the two programs.
“New Mexico State has got a good team,” coach Alan Dils said. “They played well in difficult conditions and, at the end of the day, they did just a little better job than we did today.”
Wind gusts between 25-45 miles-per-hour made their presence felt to a New Mexico squad that was playing its first outdoors even of the spring season.
The Lobos’ Ben Dunbar won his fourth consecutive singles match - his second straight at the No. 1 spot. Dunbar won the first set, 7-5, and was up 2-0 in the second set before the Aggies’ Jim Brouleau was disqualified for three code violations.
“It’s a weird occurrence,” Dunbar said of Brouleau’s disqualification. “But I was playing good. I was happy with how I was playing, so it was a good match for me.”
Phil Anderson, playing in the No. 4 spot, picked up his second straight singles win, 6-0, 6-0, over Matej Stakne to give the Lobos their first point of the afternoon. Carl Ho finished off Gustave Diep, 6-3, 4-6 (11-9) to give New Mexico its third point after the Aggies had already cinched the match.
“My match went well, given the tough conditions,” Anderson said. “You’ve got to play according to the conditions, so I thought I did a pretty good job. It’s ruthlessly windy. In tennis, conditions like these turns the match into a battle. You have to scrap, get balls back – do whatever you have to do to win. It’s really the best you can do.”
The Lobos surrendered the doubles point in a bitterly contested first hour of play. Dunbar and Jadon Phillips won the No. 1 match 9-7 over Jim Diep and Eduardo Salas. But the Arthur Surreaux and Matej Stakne beat Conor Berg and Carl Ho, 8-5 in the No. 3 match to knot up doubles play. The Aggies cinched the point when the Lobos’ Joe Wood/Phil Anderson team dropped their match, also 9-7, to Jim Brouleau/Orlando Superlano in the No. 2 match.
“We fought well, which I would totally expect,” Dils said. “Like I said earlier, it was very difficult conditions, but the guys didn’t complain. They just went out there and played, and fought. We’ve just got to get tougher as a team.”
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.