Men's Tennis Head West for Four in Arizona
|Date||Opponent||Time||Live Stats||Live Video|
|Wed. 2/24||at Grand Canyon||Noon||None||None|
|Thurs. 2/25||vs. Oregon||3 p.m.||Live Stats||None|
|Sat. 2/27||at Arizona State||2 p.m.||Live Stats||None|
|Mon. 3/1||at Arizona||1 p.m.||Live Stats||Live Video|
The University of New Mexico’s men’s tennis team usually takes a Spring Break trip on, well, Spring Break. Not in 2021, and that’s actually a good thing. The team heads out for a seven-day, four-match sojourn into the Grand Canyon state where the team will face some of the nation’s best teams in a protracted road swing.
The Lobos will face off with Grand Canyon University on Wednesday before a neutral-site match with Oregon on Thursday. After an off day, UNM will face Arizona State on Saturday and then Arizona on Monday before returning to Albuquerque.
“We don’t often get a Spring Break trip before Spring Break, which is what this is,” said head coach Ben Dunbar. “It’s going to be a ton of fun.”
UNM opens the swing with Grand Canyon out of the Western Athletic Conference. The ‘Lopes are just 1-7 on the year, and UNM is 2-0 lifetime against GCU. UNM is 1-1 on the season (having beaten BYU and losing to Utah) meaning GCU has an advantage in matches played this season and it should be UNM’s first match of the season outdoors, which will play into the result as well. From there, it gets really difficult.
UNM’s remainder of the road swing features three Pac-12 teams that are a combined 22-2 on the season. It started with 7-0 Oregon in a match to be played in Tempe. Then it’s 6-1 Arizona State followed by 9-1 Arizona. All three programs have proven to be challenges for UNM. The Lobos and Oregon played last year with the Ducks coming out on top 4-1, but Oregon leads the all-time series just 6-5.
Arizona State and UNM have also had an even series, with the 36 matches split right down the middle at 18-18, while Arizona leads the all-time series 46-15. Other than New Mexico State, which UNM has played 104 times (winning 93 of them), the meeting with Arizona will be the 62nd, tying for the second-most common opponent with Utah, who UNM met for the 62nd time on Super Bowl Sunday.
As for the frigid cold front that has hampered much of the country, Arizona has been spared. It will be highs in the 70s and 80s for all four matches, and for Lobo senior Dominic West, that’s music to his ears.
“Obviously going outside to 82 degrees in Arizona, we are pretty lucky to get the opportunities that we are getting with everything that’s going on,” said West. “Honestly indoors, outdoors, as a group we are just really excited to play.”
The trip allows for four high-quality matches in a short period without a lot of travel or changing of hotels, which was an important factor. “We are just so appreciative of the work of Eddie Nuñez our Athletic Director and Ed Manzanares, our trainers and everyone that is making sure we are safe in everything we do,” said Dunbar.