Lobos Look to Defend Title at MWC Tournament
UNM enters the tournament as a No. 3 seed, play UNLV Wed. at 3 p.m.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The University of New Mexico men’s tennis team (8-11, 3-3 MWC) claimed a No. 3 seed in the upcoming Mountain West Conference tournament and will face host team and sixth-seeded and 79th-ranked UNLV (12-11, 2-4) on Wednesday, April 28 at 3 p.m. MT in the quarterfinals of the 2010 MWC Championships.
The Lobos look to defend their 2009 crown, which catapulted them into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004. Last year’s championship marked the third conference championship for the Lobos, who have made it to the championship match two years in a row (2008 and 2009) and five times total. Their tournament championship wins came in 2009, 2004 and 2000.
All matches will be played at the Fertitta Tennis Complex in Las Vegas, Nev. and run through Saturday May 1. Should the Lobos win, they will face off with the winner of No. 2 San Diego State/No. 7 Air Force on Friday, April 30 at 11 a.m. The championship match is set for Saturday, May 1 at 11 a.m.
UNM and UNLV’s last meeting in the conference tournament occurred in 2009, with the Lobos defeating the Rebels 4-1 in the semifinals.
The Lobos have only lost three times in quarterfinal matches and are 1-2 as a three-seed.
2010 MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE MEN'S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP PAIRINGS
Wednesday, April 28
10 a.m. PT
Quarterfinal Match #1
No. 2 San Diego State vs. No. 7 Air Force
2 p.m. PT
Quarterfinal Match #2
No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 6 UNLV
2 p.m. PT
Quarterfinal Match #3
No. 4 TCU vs. No. 5 Utah
Friday, April 30
10 a.m. PT
Semifinal Match #1
SDSU/AFA Winner vs. UNM/UNLV Winner
10 a.m. PT
Semifinal Match #2
No. 1 BYU vs. TCU/Utah Winner
Saturday, May 1
10 a.m. PT
Wednesday’s quarterfinal contest between UNLV and UNM marks the 27th all-time meeting between the two schools. UNM is 17-10 all-time against the Rebels, who stole a 4-3 victory in Las Vegas earlier this month. The last, and only, time the Rebels hosted the MWC tournament, in 2002, they were nipped 4-3 in the opening match against Utah.
REGULAR SEASON RECAP
UNM opened the season ranked No. 49 in the ITA poll and with a 3-3 record six matches into the season looked to be capable of going up or down. Unfortunately, a 4-3 loss to n-state rival New Mexico State began a three-match losing streak that, coupled with losses from then-ranked No. 46 Minnesota and No. 22 Washington, left them at 3-6. UNM would win three out of its next four to go to 6-7, but a four-match losing streak, the first for the Lobos since 2000. UNM, however, has some huge momentum heading into the MWC Tournament with back-to-back wins 6-1 wins over TCU and Air Force.
True freshmen Conor Berg and Jadon Phillips are making strong statements as both have accumulated 20 wins in their first collegiate seasons. Phillips is a combined 20-12 (12-7 in dual play, 9-5 in fall play). The Macon, Ga. native is 9-4 in the No. 3 position and 7-3 in his last 10 matches. Berg is 20-10 (12-5 dual, 8-5 fall) and is a winner of 10 straight.
Not only does Berg boast a 10-match singles winning streak, he has an eight-match doubles streak in tact. Both include perfect 6-0 marks in conference play.
Berg has not lost a singles match since March 6 when the Lobos played then-ranked No. 22 Washington. Berg had lost four in a row, as the freshman started the season 2-6.
PARTNERS IN CRIME
It’s with partner Ben Dunbar that Berg has rattled off eight straight matches with as the pair has combined to go 9-1 in dual action, including an 8-0 mark at the No. 2 position.
NOT TO BE MISTAKEN
While the Lobos’ 8-11 overall record is their first below .500 since 1997, the end mark can be justified to some degree. UNM has lost five matches by a narrow score of 4-3 while 14 of UNM’s 18 opponents have been ranked in the ITA Top 75. The Lobo roster is also a young one, with just Joe Wood checking in as an upperclassman. Four sophomores and two freshmen make up the rest of UNM’s active roster
The Lobos are 2-8 away from Albuquerque this season, including neutral and away matches, and 1-2 in neutral matches for a 1-6 true road record.
UNM has used 10 different doubles combinations during the dual season, including six different pairs at the No. 2 slot. The Lobos are 6-1 when winning the doubles point.