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Lobos Look to Bounce Back Hosting Drake

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For New Mexico, 10 times this season, the Lobos have scored three points in a match, meaning everyone of them.  While they have scored four to win seven times, it’s the three 4-3 losses that stick in their craw.  UNM will have to be at its best on Tuesday morning when the Lobos host the Drake Bulldogs at McKinnon Family Tennis Stadium as the Lobos enter their tough final stretch of non-conference play.

The Bulldogs enter the weekend at 8-5 and will play three times at the Arizona State Invitational this weekend before driving over for Tuesday’s match.  UNM hopes that the Bulldogs might be a little worn out with a fourth match in less than five days.  Conversely, UNM will have had nine days between matches after a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Rice at home in which UNM twice had match point that would have been the decider.  Instead, UNM ended up losing two key tiebreaks, either one of which would have given the Lobos the win.

Where UNM is scuffling is in doubles, as UNM has altered the top of its lineup with Arda Azkara combining with Alex Maggs at No. 1 and Ryoma Matsushita and Aram Noroozian playing at No. 2.  The Lobos have not won a doubles point since beating BYU in the fourth match of the season, and three times now that has cost UNM.

Where UNM has excelled in in singles.  Arda Azkara is still perfect at No. 1 at home in his career (10-0), and Aram Noroozian and Georgio Samaha have each won eight straight singles matches, with Samaha doing so at Nos. 5 and 6 and Noroozian doing it at Nos. 3 and 4.  If UNM can continue to get that steady play, all it takes is one more match somewhere along the table.

The match starts a tough four-match run to end conference play as UNM hits the road for three straight, at East Tennessee State, at Radford and then at Denver to close out non-conference play.