Lobos Head to NCAA Tournament Opening Rounds
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  05/06/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

May 6, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The 41st-ranked University of New Mexico men's tennis team (20-5) makes their 11th NCAA Team Tournament appearance this weekend, heading to Los Angeles, Calif., as one of 64 teams taking part in the opening round of the 2009 tournament. The Lobos look to earn a spot in the final 16 for a trip to the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas, May 14-19. Joining the Lobos in Los Angeles will be host team USC (19-5), UC Santa Barbara (11-13) and Minnesota (18-7). UNM opens up with 33rd-ranked Minnesota at 3 p.m. MDT on Friday, May 8, with USC and UC Santa Barbara facing off at 6 p.m. MDT. The winners play Saturday in the second round at 4 p.m. MDT.

UNM and Minnesota have met seven times, with the Gophers holding a 4-3 edge. The last meeting was in 2007, a 5-2 New Mexico win in Albuquerque. The Lobos are 0-6 against USC and are 3-2 against UC Santa Barbara, including a 7-0 win on Feb. 7. USC holds the No. 8 ranking in the nation with junior Robert Farah checking in at 8th in singles and freshman Steve Johnson at No. 53. Farah and Johnson are 4th as a doubles combination while Abdullah Magdas and Daniel Nguyen are 58th for the Trojans. TCU is the only other MWC team in the NCAA Tournament.

The first and second round matches at USC's Marks Stadium this weekend will have live scoring updates as well as live video available at http://usctrojans.cstv.com/livestats/tennis/Scoreboard.html or by clicking on the available links at GoLobos.com.

NCAA NOTES: The last NCAA appearance for the Lobos came in 2004 with 11 overall appearances since 1991. The Lobos have advanced past the first round four times with the last coming in 1998. UNM's overall NCAA Tournament record is 6-10.

GETTING THERE: The Lobos received an automatic bid after defeating TCU in the Mountain West Conference tournament on April 25. The 4-3 win gave the Lobos their third conference tournament championship. At 20-5 overall and 4-2 in conference, the Lobos hold their best record since the 1968 season. The 1968 Lobos finished 20-1. The only losses of the 2009 season have come against then-ranked No. 23 Boise State, No. 25 Virginia Tech at the ITA Team Indoor Tournament, No. 52 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at the HEB Tournament, and No. 45 TCU and No. 43 San Diego State in conference.

RECENT RANKINGS: UNM is now No. 41 as of the ITA poll released on Tuesday, April 28. The Lobos have not been ranked lower than 44 this season with their highest ranking coming at the No. 32 spot. Johnny Parkes holds the No. 77 singles rank.

CHASING HISTORY: Seniors Johnny Parkes and Graeme Kassautzki are climbing the UNM all-time singles and doubles lists. Parkes is tied for the top place with an all-time record of 96-41. Kassautzki is close behind at the No. 5 slot with a singles record of 93-44. The all-time singles leader is Divan Coetzee, who played for the Lobos from 2001-04, with a record of 96-30.

In doubles, Parkes currently owns the all-time 9th with a 75-46 record while Kassautzki ranks 14th with a record of 69-46. Miles Bugby has also cracked the list, tied for 25th with a record of 54-35. The all-time doubles leader is David Kowlaski who played from 2001-05 finishing his career with a 100-40 record.

CONFERENCE AWARD COLLECTIONS: Senior Johnny Parkes picked up the Mountain West Conference men's tennis Player of the Year honor. Parkes and fellow senior Graeme Kassautzki were named to the All-MWC singles team while Parkes and partner Miles Bugby grace the All-MWC doubles list. Head coach Alan Dils was also voted MWC Coach of the Year, his fourth overall and second straight. Dils, now in his 13th season with UNM, holds the highest winning record in program history at 184-117 and has posted back-to-back seasons with 20 wins.

No.1 FOR A REASON: Senior Johnny Parkes has lost only two singles match at the No. 1 position this spring. Parkes is 23-2, including a streak of 14 straight matches. He earned an automatic bid to the NCAA singles competition beginning on May 20 in College Station, Texas. Parkes has only lost a combined eight sets in all 25 matches. His overall singles record on the year is 29-4, which is one win away from owning the top spot on the UNM all-time career singles list.

IN CONFERENCE: New Mexico claimed its third Mountain West Conference Tournament title with a 4-3 win over TCU on April 25. For the second straight year the match came down to the No. 3 singles spot for the two teams. Miles Bugby secured the win for the Lobos with a three-set tiebreaker win over 71st-ranked Kriegler Brink. The Lobos came out on the other side of the battle in 2008, falling 4-3. UNM used a 4-0 win over Air Force and a 4-1 win over UNLV to get to the championship match. The Lobos finished the regular season tied for second place with Utah. Six of the seven MWC teams are currently ranked in the top 75 in the nation.

UNM was handed its second conference loss by San Diego State in a make-up match on April 21. The Lobos lost a narrow 4-3 decision.

The Lobos traveled to San Diego, Calif., for three conference matches from April 8-10, coming away with a 2-1 record. After dropping their first match to No. 45 TCU, New Mexico rebounded for wins over No. 46 Utah, 5-2, and No. 64 BYU, 4-3. Senior Johnny Parkes continued his success on the singles scene, winning three straight matches at the No. 1 spot, including a 6-2, 6-1, win over No. 62 Slah Mbarek of TCU and a three-set win over Utah's Wes Hancock. Fellow senior Graeme Kassautzki went a combined 5-1 in singles and doubles action. Kassautzki teamed with sophomore Joe Wood at No. 2 doubles for three wins. The duo topped TCU's Emanuel Brighiu and Adrian Simon, who were ranked 20th. In singles, Kassautzki dropped the first match of the weekend, but came back to win the next two, ending a four-match losing streak. Freshman Carl Ho was inserted into the No. 6 singles and went 3-0 to improve to 6-0 from the No. 6 spot this season.

The Lobos opened conference play with a bang, extending their win streak at the time to seven matches with a 6-1 win over Air Force on Friday, March 27, and a 5-2 win over No. 65 UNLV on Sunday, March 29. Seniors Johnny Parkes and Miles Bugby both won two singles matches. At the No. 1 spot, Parkes continued dominating with a 6-0, 7-6 win over Air Force's Austin Francis and a 6-3, 7-6 win over UNLV's Elliot Wronski to improve to 16-1 this spring. Bugby jumped to 11-2 at the No. 3 singles spot for the spring with two three-set wins. The two also teamed up for two doubles victories in the No. 1 slot, including an 8-5 win over No. 65 Wronski and Luca Barlocchi from UNLV. Freshmen Ben Dunbar stepped up in singles action for two wins at the No. 4 spot. Carl Ho appeared in the lineup at the No. 6 position and also secured two wins.

DYNAMIC DOUBLES: The Lobos are 19-6 in doubles as a team and have swept all three doubles point matches six times this season. Seniors Johnny Parkes and Miles Bugby are 16-7 at the No. 1 position while senior Graeme Kassautzki and sophomore Joe Wood are 17-5 at the No. 2 slot this spring. The Lobos are 46-21 in spring doubles. Kassautzki and Wood are a perfect 6-0 in conference doubles and have won six straight.

FANATASTIC FRESHMAN: Freshman Carl Ho has notched nine straight singles wins. Ho is 9-0 at the No. 6 slot, 10-2 overall and a perfect 5-0 in conference.

MWC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: The Lobos have garnered six Mountain West Conference Player of the Week honors this season, including a span of three straight weeks. Senior Johnny Parkes has earned five this season, Feb. 11, Jan. 28, March 18, March 25 and April 29. Parkes began the season 12-0, going undefeated in singles and doubles. Miles Bugby picked up the honor on April 1.