April 25, 2011
Lobos Men/Women Tennis - At Mountain West Conference Championships
No. 8 Lobo Women: 11 a.m. (MT) Wednesday vs. No. 9 Colorado State
No. 3 Lobo Men: 2:30 p.m. (MT) Wednesday vs. No. 6 Utah
GoLobos.com: Match Recap, Statistics
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The Lobos need to pull a few upsets, rock the status quo established on the courts this season, and charge into the NCAA postseason as MWC champions. There might not be any at-large bids in the Lobos' future.
"We feel we have to win it in order to advance to NCAA play," said Dils. "We are probably outside an at-large bid right now."
The challenge is there for both Lobo squads and obviously Cañada's pack of Lobos has a tougher challenge as they head to Fort Collins, Colo., as the No. 8 seed and going against the home team CSU Rams in Match One. If the UNM women advance, the Lobos would have to pull a major upset against the loaded and No. 1 seed UNLV Rebels.
"We know that Colorado State will be anxious to get back at us," said Cañada. "We need to match their intensity from the beginning. It will be a tough match, just like last time."
The Lobo women posted their lone MWC win, 4-3, over the Rams in Fort Collins. The winner of that Wednesday morning match gets to try their luck against the No. 1 Rebs. UNM lost to UNLV 6-1 in regular-season action at the Linda Estes Tennis Complex.
The Lobo men, in Dils' 15th season as head coach, are an established MWC threat and won the title in 2009. "I don't think anyone will be looking forward to playing us," said Dils.
The Lobo Men: Dils' Lobos carry a No. 3 seed into the MWC tournament and will be favored to advance past No. 6 Utah. The Lobos beat the Utes 5-2 in Salt Lake City. That likely would pit the Lobos against No. 2 TCU, which opens Wednesday against No. 7 Air Force. UNM lost to the Frogs 5-2 in Fort Worth.
The Brigham Young Cougars return the core of the BYU team that raced through the 2010 season undefeated and did the same thing again in 2011. However, BYU did not win the MWC crown in 2010. It went to the Horned Frogs of Fort Worth.
The Lobos might not have the edge on paper - or in past matches -- against BYU or TCU, but the Lobos plan to feed off early energy from the doubles' competition and ride that fire to a few wins.
BYU - 6-0 - 19-5
TCU -- 5-1 - 11-12
Lobos - 4-2 - 14-9
UNLV - 3-3 - 14-10
SDSU - 2-4 -- 4-15
Utah -- 1-5 - 7-14
AFA -- 0-6 -- 10-13
The Lobos' doubles teams of Jadon Phillips / Phil Anderson, Ben Dunbar / Conor Berg and Joe Wood / Carl Ho rolled Air Force this past weekend and began the momentum UNM needs to carry into Fort Collins. The Lobos also got singles win from those six players.
"We know we can play," said Dils. "But we also know we lost to two good teams that are seeded above us. The conference is pretty close. There are five teams that could get hot and win the tournament, and we are one of them."
"We know we need to play well and get hot, but I feel good about where we are at.
MWC Men Tourney Quick Facts:
BYU gets a first-round bye and will play the winner of UNLV/SDSU.
The Lobo Women: Coach Cañada's Lobos have improved competitively throughout the season and need to make a huge jump at the MWC Championships at CSU.
"We're at that point where we're ready to take it to another level," said UNM senior Ashley Bonner. "We're ready to go in there and give it our all."
It's probably both a good thing and a bad thing that the Lobos open up with the host-team CSU Rams. The Lobos already have a win over the Rams in CSU. The bad thing might be the Rams should be fired up to get some revenge.
In that earlier win at CSU, the Lobos got singles wins from Michaela Bezdickova, Nikolina Grbac and Kristin Eggleston in close matches. UNM also got doubles wins from Grbac/ Michaela Oldani and Eggleston/Bezdickova. This UNM/CSU battle should be close and intense.
The Lobo women are going into MWC tourney play off a 5-2 home loss to Air Force. The Lobos got singles wins from Grbac and Oldani, who also paired up for UNM's lone win in doubles.
MWC Women Tourney Quick Facts: