Lobo Nation!

How is everyone feeling now that fall is in the air? Your Lobos have been hard at work and are already in full swing. Just like the changing of the seasons, the Lobo Men’s Tennis Team have undergone a few changes as well. Most notably the all-time winningest tennis coach in UNM history, our coach, mentor, and friend, Alan Dils retired effectively July 1, 2014. He leaves a legacy at UNM that is unmatched, and far too long to detail here. He retires from tennis but he hasn’t left us yet, in fact, as he puts it, he “retired to work more!” He will continue to bleed cherry and silver as he heads upstairs to the administrative offices to work on Alumni relations, development, and many other exciting projects that are sure to keep him busy.

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I officially took over on July 1, 2014. I’m humbled and honored to be the interim head coach at my alma mater. Following a great friend and mentor in Alan Dils is something that will always humble me. His shoes are far too big to fill, so rather than try, my assistant and I (former Lobo, Ben Dunbar) have decided to blaze our own trail. Our guys have bought in and are really working hard. We returned 9 players from our MWC runner up team and have added three players, Albuquerque’s own Michael Tran, Holland’s Bart Van Leijsen, and Augie Ge of Phoenix.

Captains were named late this summer for the first time in a long time. We’re happy to announce seniors James Hignett and Sam Iftikhar are our captains for the 2014-2015 season. James just got back from Midland, TX where he and Van Leijsen were in the semifinals of doubles before the tournament was called off because of rain, and Sam just returned from Thailand where he competed for Pakistan in the Davis Cup World Group II finals. It was another great experience for Iftikhar where he tallied his first win in the prestigious international team event.

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All of you Lobo fans can look forward to this Friday, September 19th as a few of our Lobos will face off against Americas best and brightest juniors in a exhibition match at the newly opened McKinnon Family Tennis Center. Located in the Baseball, Softball Complex this tennis center makes this facility one of the best all around facilities in the country. Make sure you come out for a tennis match and stay for baseball and softball. That facility will make our season so special and there are far too many amazing people and families to thank for making that a reality. I have to thank Ian and Sonnet McKinnon and family, Ed and Maria Corley and family, Jack and Susan Kennedy, and the Nichols and Parr Group for their generous donations! Don’t forget to enjoy LOREN DILS park as well, a beautiful area named in honor of former Lobo coach and Alan Dils twin brother!

Check out this fantastic article on http://www.golobos.com about our beautiful McKinnon Tennis Center by clicking HERE

Some of the boys played last week in Midland which was a great event once again. Even the rain couldn’t put a damper on the spirit of the Lobos. They all competed with pride and energy and represented Albuquerque and UNM very well.

Coming up this weekend is the Jr. Davis Cup event and four Lobos will head down to Las Cruces, NM to take part in the annual NMSU Aggie Invitational. Everyone is ready to go.

Thank you all for your patience and your continued support. We will need to continue to lean on the mighty Lobo Nation all year as the college landscape is ever changing and unpredictable. We need to show the country that we have something special here. I personally want to see record crowds at all our matches this fall and spring for both the men’s team and the women’s team. The ITA has an annual “attendance race” and I see no reason with our fan base, our incredible facility, and our special student-athletes that we can’t crack the top ten this year! Lets all band together and turn up for these student athletes and show them how much we care about them and their success!

Stay with us all season as we update this blog weekly! As Always, Go Lobos!!!

Click HERE to support UNM Men’s Tennis

Lobo Nation,

I haven’t forgot about you. It’s been a while since I’ve updated but I have so many things to talk about I thought I would do a pre-update build up blog :)

I will update you on:

-Alan Dils retirement from college coaching and 24 years coaching the Lobos

-McKinnon Family Tennis Center Update with new weight room photos. For those of you who don’t know we are building a new weight room where “Center Court” was at Estes Tennis Center.

-Me (Bart) taking over for Alan as the new Men’s Tennis Head Coach (dream come true)

-Hiring of former Lobo standout student-athlete, Ben Dunbar as my assistant.

-Summer tournament recaps

-Info on our Fall Schedule

This is shaping up to be a fabulous summer. We have a lot to be thankful about here in Lobo Tennis Land and I’m excited to share that with you all.

Thank you all so much for your support of UNM Men’s Tennis!

Go Lobos

-Bart Scott

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Lobo Fans, 

Please check out this release from http://www.golobos.com on our 2014 signing class!!!  We’re so excited to have signed both of these talented players.  

Click HERE to read all about it!  

As Always, GO LOBOS!!!!

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2014 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year, Alan Dils.

 

Lobo Nation, 

First of all, thank you all so much for your support this year.  We’re all so glad you jumped on board in August on our “Road to Fresno State” for the Mountain West Conference Championships.  It was a great ride.  There were some major highs, and a few lows, but like always the guys played their best at the end to once again put the Lobos in contention for their 12th conference title.  

The road to Fresno began with a new tournament in January.  The Ned and Tina Jacobs Invitational.  The Lobos started the year hot winning that tournament beating 2014 NCAA participant and three-time Southland Conference Champions Texas A&M Corpus Christi twice in the event.  The very next match we pushed our record to 7-0 by beating another 2014 NCAA participant and Big West Champions Cal Poly.  

From there we lost two very close home matches, both 4-3 to Utah and two-time defending Mountain West Conference Champion (who are #25 in the ITA Rankings) Boise State.  

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#1 Doubles pair, James Hignett (left) and Sam Iftikhar vs Boise State in the MWC Finals.

 

There were some heartbreaking losses along the way, as well as some gratifying wins (beating Fresno State on the road 4-3 when seemingly everything was working against us comes to mind)!  

Heading into the conference tournament your Lobos were 18-7 and earned the #2 seed behind Boise State.  The previous two years New Mexico came up one match short losing to Boise State in the finals in 2012 4-0 and 2013 4-3 and 7-6 in the third last match on.  

UNM had three players receive All-Conference awards the night before the tournament got underway.  The Lobos were led by Junior, Sam Iftikhar (who played a Davis Cup Tie for Pakistan in late early April) who made the All-MWC squad in both singles in doubles playing primarily in the #1 doubles spot and exclusively at #1 singles.  Also earning All-MWC awards were Junior, James Hignett for doubles, and MWC Freshman of the Year, Hayden Sabatka!  Sabatka, from Denver, Colorado became the fourth Lobo to earn MWC FOY honors behind former Lobos, Max Jones, Johnny Parkes, and Jadon Phillips.  

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MWC Freshman of the Year, Hayden Sabatka unleashes a forehand against Boise State’s Nathan Sereke.

UNM kicked off the 2014 tournament with familiar foe and conference travel partner Air Force.  Air Force play very solid doubles, and attack, attack, attack.  We have the utmost respect for their players, coaches, and program overall.  These guys will grow to be some of the true leaders to come for our great country.  

Needless to say we were prepared for a battle.  It was neck and neck in doubles until finally we started to pull away.  In the end our guys went for it when it counted and we racked up wins at #3 and #1 doubles.

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Your Lobos congratulating one another after beating AFA to advance to the MWC semi-final round vs San Diego State.

Moving to singles, Iftikhar picked up a quick win at #1 singles, followed by doubles partner Hignett at #5 to set the table for #4 singles and Sophomore, Andy Van Der Vyver.  VDV came through in straight sets to give UNM a 4-0 win over AFA and a date for the third year in a row with San Diego State in the Semi-Finals.  

With a ton of rain the day before, the women’s tournament was backed up a bit.  The UNM women won a quarterfinal match win Nevada then came through against SDSU to book a spot in the finals of the women’s championship.  A huge congratulations to coach Erica and coach Kelcy for a great season and a job well done.  It was great seeing them come through as well!  

Because of the rain, we didn’t get on for our 2pm match time until after 4:30pm.  We battled for 4hrs and 10mins against a very talented SDSU team.  It was our third year in a row meeting these guys in the semis and for the third year in a row we came through.  This time in DRAMATIC fashion.  

UNM took the doubles point and raced to wins at #5 with Hignett winning 6-2, 6-0 and #3 with Freshman Rodolfo Jauregui (who won 30 singles matches this season) winning 6-2, 6-1.  In between match wins for the Lobos though, SDSU picked up straight set wins on courts two, four, and six.  With the match tied at 3-3 the spotlight fell on court #1 featuring player of the year candidates Iftikhar and Thorsten Bertch.  SDSU took the first set 6-2, but Iftikhar broke at 4-4 to serve for the second set.  SDSU hung tough and broke right back leveling the second set once again.  

The match went to a second set tie breaker which saw Iftikhar down 6-5.  This meant the match, and the season was on the line.  Up to that point Sam had not hit a single penetrating shot from his backhand wing.  This was part of the problem as to why he found himself down match point.  Somehow he summoned the guts to go for an on the run, down the line, half desperation, half in the zone, backhand winner to level the tie breaker at 6-6.  This broke Thorsten both in mind and body.   

Mentally it can be debilitating to see the end of the tunnel, to have it be so close, then have it vanish away.  SDSU was a backhand down the line away from heading to their first conference finals since 2010 where they fell to TCU.  The very next point the two exchanged a very long rally where eventually UNM won the point.  Bertch fell after the point and succumbed to cramps.  His coach came out and started to stretch him where he received a time violation warning, his second warning to that point (which annoyed me because it should have been a point penalty right then and there).  

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The fellas going bonkers as Sam Iftikhar clinches the win over San Diego State in the MWC semi-finals.

SDSU somehow summoned the strength to keep fighting as well and the two warriors once again found themselves tied 9-9 and locked in another epic rally.  Once again Sammy won the point which set up set point, but at the end of the 9-9 point Bertch fell again and cramped.  The SDSU trainer came out and started to stretch the effected area.  This is an automatic point penalty, however that was not called as he once again went over the allotted 20 seconds in between points.  That violation was called and a point penalty was issued.  This gave Sam the set 11-9 and set up a third set for all the marbles.  

Because of Bertch’s physical condition Sam got off to a 3-0 lead, but SDSU would not fold…and we knew that.  SDSU broke back at 2-4 in the third to get the match back on serve at 3-4.  Sam dug deep though, broke and held to love pulling the match and the team match out, lifting the Lobos to a 4-3 win over SDSU.  It was an awesome match that could have gone either way.  As a coaching staff we were so proud to be a part of such a wonderful team effort.  

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“There’s only one Sammy Iftikhar!” The team chanting in victory after the win by Iftikhar over SDSU.

 

We got out of there very late at night, got a bite to eat, and completely wired we all tried to get some sleep.  The morning would bring two Lobo teams battling for the MWC Championship!  

The finals against Boise State was more anti-climactic as I had hoped for.  We all really thought it was our year.  We tried to imagine ourselves holding that trophy, but in the end, Boise State, a top 25 team and 27-4 on the year were just too tough for us.  They won the doubles point with wins at #2 and #3 and took control from the beginning of singles on three courts and never really let us back into the match.  

It’s a credit to their staff, and their players.  They were top 25, they knew they would be in the NCAA tournament regardless of the outcome of the match.  That said, they could free swing and play loose and relaxed.  We, on the other hand, knowing we had to win to get in were a bit tight to start the match and proved lethal. 

I give our guys a ton of credit though, bouncing back after two tough losses in conference finals the last couple years to once again get back there to give themselves a chance to win it.  That’s all we can do again.  Dust ourselves off, get back to work, and try and go one further next year.  Next year with the schedule we’ve put together we hope to enter the MWC tournament ranked inside the top 35 to ensure a spot in the NCAA tournament! 

Finally, a nice treat today on Head Coach, Alan Dils’ birthday, he was named the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his illustrious career!  Congrats to Alan and the guys for helping UNM bring home that award!  

Thanks again so much everyone, please stay tuned as this summer we will stay in touch about camps, the new facility, our 2014 signing class, more “Where Are They Now” features, and much much more!  

A special thanks to the staff at the Linda Estes Tennis Center, including club Director and my father, Bob Scott; Eric Turner, Lindsay Stansifer, and the rest of the LETC crew for all their support, racquet stringing, and court preparation!  You guys are the best!!!

We’re so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful tennis community!  

As Always GO LOBOS!!!!!!

Dear Lobo Tennis Fans, 

First of all, thank you guys so much for coming out last Sunday in big numbers for our senior day/Loren Dils ALS fundraiser.  It means a lot to our student athletes to take time out of your busy days to come out and watch them compete.  Obviously too, the support you all show for Loren is incredible.  I know personally that he is humbled by all of your support, and on days like that, even a little embarrassed :)  

The weather started off ok for doubles, but the winds picked up and forced play inside.  We had won the doubles point, thanks to wins at #3 and #1 and had just started the singles when play was forced inside.  

The Lobos started fast at numbers two, four, and six, but very slow at numbers one, three, and five.  This meant we were going to be in a dog fight, makes sense as the Lobos were taking on the very talented, and dangerous Nevada WOLF PACK.  A battle of the dogs if you will.  

We all really wanted to win this match as Nevada proved they would be very tough challenge last year.  We escaped Reno with a 4-3 win over the exact same team, so we knew this year would be very similar.  Also, we wanted to honor our lone senior, Mads Hegelund by competing hard and getting a win.  Nevada entered the match with a stellar 15-4 record.  

We were able to get the wins at number two and four where at #2 Freshman of the Year candidate Hayden Sabatka was able to dominate his opponent.  At four Andy Van Der Vyver also won in straight sets.  

Unfortunately, the Lobos were outplayed at numbers one and three.  This made the team match score 3-2 Lobos and put the spotlight on Hegelund at number six where he led 7-6, 5-2.  

Facing a couple break points as the nerves and the thought of playing his last home match started to creep in, Hegelund dug deep, came to net and forced an error to seal his career with a win, both for him and for his team!  

It was a magic moment, as Hegelund clinched the match.  He dropped his racquet, looked at his teammates and gave the biggest ear to ear smile we’d seen him give in quite some time!  The boys piled on and celebrated in style.  It was a great moment for Mads, and a great moment for this team to stave of a very game Nevada challenge.  They will be a very tough out come tournament time.  

I’m so thrilled, and I know I can speak for Alan too in saying, we are so proud of Mads!  We’re privileged to have been a small part of Mads big journey to UNM.  He is a great player, but he’s an even better student and person.  He’s been at a 4.0GPA or better five times in his career which just astounds me!  

It’s been an absolute pleasure!  

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Now we look to Mads and the rest of the fellas to lead us to Fresno for the Mountain West Conference Championships.  We are off this weekend and will wait for the dust to settle to see where we end up.  It’s our understanding that the National ITA ranking will determine where everyone falls for the tournament.  If that is the case, we are looking at the number two seed behind two-time defending MWC Champions, Boise State.  The last two seasons, they beat us in the final match.  Last year they beat us 4-3 by winning the last match on 7-6 in the third.  It was a thrilling match with a lot of ups and downs.  

We started this march to Fresno in August.  It’s time to lay it all on the line, and we are preparing every day to do just that.  

Please follow this blog and http://www.golobos.com to stay up to date with both the men’s and the women’s teams as we play for us, you guys, UNM, Albuquerque, and the great state of New Mexico.  We will compete hard and hope to make you all proud.  

Thanks again for a wonderful season of continued support!  We look forward to you guys following us down this home stretch!  

As always, Go LOBOS!!!

Albuquerque Tennis Fans,

What a tournament!  1981 NCAA Participant Tony Richey and his partner Dave Sims claimed the inaugural “Hopkins Cup” in memory of longtime MNL player and UNM Tennis supporter, Sean Hopkins.

Richey/Sims won with passion, energy, and good old fashioned solid DOUBLES.  It was an absolute treat to watch these guys celebrate their win!  They now have 365 days of bragging rights.

The Hopkins Cup. Awarded to the winners of the Monday Night Lobo League. “The Toughest League in Town to Win!”

The tournament started last Monday as every team was excited to play the round of 32 and 16.  The tournament wrapped up late last night as the teams played the quarters, semis, and finals.

The first Monday saw the biggest upset of the tournament as defending MNL Champions, Johnny Kowalski and Kim Delman upset the second seeded pair of Matt Neeld and Gavin Korsan 8-3.

There were two matches of note on the first Monday.  The first being Tate Rubenstein and Eric Tuggle’s 8-7 win over Cody Hall and Randy Smith.  It was an exciting match as Hall/Smith served for the match at 7-5 but couldn’t convert.  There were hustle plays all over the court and finally on their first match point Rubenstein/Tuggle sealed the 8-7 (5) win when a Smith return found the net.

The other match of the first day was Team LPTA’s win over Gary Stansifer and Mark Davis 8-7 and 13-11 in the tiebreaker!  Both teams were so clutch saving match point after match point with winning poaches and overheads instead of errors.  The quality of the match was so high, it had spectators standing to applaud after nearly every single point!

It was a great way to close out a competitive first day.  After that match completed, only the final eight teams were left to duke it out.

The clear favorites going into the quarters were Garg and Moore.  The pair were the only undefeated team throughout all group play and earned the #1 seed.  They cruised to an 8-3 win in the round of 16 and a convincing 8-1 in the quarters to set up a semi final match with Richey and Sims.  These teams met during group play with Garg/Moore winning in straight sets.

The other semi final match saw the Santa Fe pair of former Lobo Michael Polasek and Paul Otte against Team LPTA.  Unfortunately, this match would not live up to the billing as Polasek’s leg wouldn’t allow him to play as well as we all know he can.  Nothing can be taken away from Team LPTA though, as they were business like in their approach to the match.  They played well beyond their age and throttled the hobbled team 8-1.

Team LPTA would await the winner of Richey/Sims vs Garg/Moore.  It was the match of the tournament by far.  The match started out with high intensity, quick-hands, big serves, clutch returns, and it ended even better than it started.  There were breaks, and break-backs, there were touch lob volleys by Moore, big time dominate tennis from Garg and Richey, and clutch returning and poaching by Sims.

It was an absolute shame that one team had to lose.  As cliche as that sounds, it was 100% true.  The moment of the match came (because I have to pick one) at Garg serving 3-4 in the tiebreaker.  Garg misses his first serve, then hits a great kicking, deep in the box second serve that Sims moved up on and took early.  Sims blocks it back low to Garg charging in after his serve.  Garg hits an awesome low flying, and even lower bouncing half-volley to Sims.

At this moment it’s sink or swim for Sims.  If he Sims hits the ball back hard, it either goes out or it’s high and Garg or Moore (poaching) take out the garbage for sure.  If Sims takes it out of the air he most likely misses the shot altogether.  Sims elected to put on the brakes, hit a soft, slow, low-boucing half-volley back to Garg and away from the ever lurking Moore.  By hitting the ball slow, it gave both Richey and Sims time to advance further towards the net.  This caught Garg off balance and he popped the ball up to Sims who finished the job he started.  5-3 now Richey/Sims.

Richey and Sims would win the next point giving themselves match point at 6-3.  Sims hits his biggest serve all night.  Flat out wide to Moore’s susceptible one-handed backhand return.  Moore rises to the occasion and rips a BH cross court away from the flying Gorilla Richey!  Big time play from the young fella.  6-4.  Every fiber in me thought Sims would serve Garg BH and every fiber in me thought Richey would be poaching and Garg would unleash a BH down the line and get this thing back on serve at 5-6.  Then a funny thing happened that does tend to happen in the realm of sports.  Sims delivered the BH, slightly body serve…Richey moved to the middle looking for any garbage to take out, but Garg blinked for a split second, and split seconds are the difference in winning and losing sometimes.  Instead of ripping and going for it, Garg, blinked and hit a bunt lob return.  This gave the GORILLA enough time to adjust off the poach, set his feet, and unload an overhead through the middle for the winner.  Game.  Set.  Match.  Richey and Sims.

It was one helluva match.  It’s a shame more people weren’t there to watch it.  All four players wanted to win and I really appreciate that.  All too often, players will give the illusion that it doesn’t really matter what the outcome is.  That can get boring.  This was passion, intensity, and will to survive and advance at it’s finest.  Doesn’t matter that the Wimbledon championship wasn’t up for grabs last night.  Something was on the line and all four players wanted it!  Amazing tennis.  Richey/Sims def. Garg/Moore 8-7 (4) to advance to the finals against Team LPTA.

The finals started off pretty slow for LPTA and lightning quick for Richey and Sims.  They knew a fast start would likely seal the deal and they wasted no time getting out to a double-break 3-0 lead.  LPTA finally settled in, but it was a bit too little too late.  Richey finally hit a second serve ace out wide on the deuce side on their first match point to seal the championship!  It was a good match and the youngsters gained some invaluable knowledge on how to play “men’s doubles.”

“I’m so happy we were able to play well tonight,” Said an elated Richey.  “Personally, I really wanted to get my hands on the Hopkins Cup.  Sean was a dear friend of mine, and all of ours really, so I’m just so happy to get my name on his cup.”

“It was great playing with Tony.  I though we played the big points pretty well tonight,” said Sims.

They sure did.  When asked about that clutch shot in the semis, Sims said, “I knew it was a big opportunity, I tried to hit the ball low and close in to get a good look at the next ball.  I’m just glad I was able to pull it off.”

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In the end, it was a great night and an awesome tournament for a good cause.

We thank you all once again for your generous donation of your time and of your money.  Without your support these student-athletes would not have as enjoyable an experience as they would without your support.

On behalf of our players, our entire coaching staff, the LETC staff, and everyone else involved, THANK YOU and GO LOBOS!!!!!!

Best,

Bart

The 2014 MNL Champions and inaugural winners of the “Hopkins Cup” are David Sims and Tony Richey!!!! Incredible tennis tonight, congratulations! 365 days of bragging rights start….NOW!!!

A full tournament recap to come soon….

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