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Tucson, Tulsa on Tap for Tennis

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Most times when someone says a program is “going in two different directions”, that’s a very bad thing.

Not this week.

The Lobo men’s tennis program is literally going in two different directions … because the team is in two meets at the same time.  Part of the squad is headed west to Tucson, Arizona to take part in the Wildcat Invitational, and part of the squad is heading east to play in the ITA Championships.

Heading west with assistant coach Ricky Hernandez Tong is Joel Pierleoni, Alex Maggs, Georgio Samaha and Nicolas Prieto, while Rafael Abdulsalam and Arda Azkara are headed to Tulsa where they will play in singles play at the ITAs.

In Arizona, the Lobo quartet will take on all comers from the likes of Gonzaga, Northern Arizona, Grand Canyon, New Mexico State and host Arizona.  In singles, the backets are broken out into four groupings, blue, red, white and gray, and two groupings for doubles.

In the blue bracket, Pierleoni will face Aussie Tom Hann of Gonzaga and in the red bracket Samaha will face Grand Canyon’s Freddie Grant, a native of Surrey, England.  In the white bracket, UNM’s Alex Maggs will face Northern Arizona’s Morgan Donovan, who hails from Fountain Hills, Arizona, and in the gray bracket (the only bracket with more than eight players), Nicolas Prieto earned a first round bye.

In doubles, Pierleoni and Maggs will face NAU’s Dominic Buzoniks and Alex Groves in the blue doubles draw, while Prieto and Samaha will take on Grand Canyon’s Grzegorz Rudnicki and Wyatt Anderson in the red doubles draw.

The ITA singles draw, which will feature Azkara and Abdulsalam, will be announced on Friday.