April 6, 2004
LET THE BATTLE BEGIN: The Lobos begin their hunt for a second consecutive Mountain West Conference title this weekend. They host Air Force on Friday, April 9 at 2 p.m., followed by UNLV on Saturday, April 10 at 2 p.m. The Lobos and seniors Divan Coetzee and Jasmin Hodzic will then complete their final home match of the season on Sunday, April 11 at 1 p.m.
Last year, the Lobos won a share of the regular season crown, tying BYU and San Diego State at 4-1. In the conference tournament, New Mexico fell to the Aztecs, 4-3 in the championship game. Bart Scott, Brent Salazar, Divan Coetzee, Ryan Stotland and Divan Coetzee were all named to the all-conference team.
The young Falcons have had a tough time matching up with the Lobos in the past. New Mexico holds a 23-2 series lead. The two met last year with New Mexico winning, 4-3. The last time Air Force topped the Lobos was 1989.
New Mexico holds a slight edge in the series with UNLV, 11-8. The match against the Rebels was UNM's first conference match of the season last year. The Lobos won 6-1.
San Diego State is quickly becoming of the the Lobos most heated rivals. The Aztecs took the tournament championship from the Lobos last year after the Lobos beat them, 4-3 in the regular season. New Mexico has a 19-13 all-time record against SDSU.
RECORD BREAKING YEAR: Senior Divan Coetzee, ranked No. 27, is making history at UNM. Coetzee now has a career record of 89-29 that he has compiled in three short years. Coetzee needs six more wins to tie Pepe Caballero for the most wins in UNM men's tennis history. Caballero, playing from 1995-99, went 95-58 overall.
Coetzee is also on track to break the single season record for wins. He is currently 30-9 overall and 12-4 at No. 1 singles. The current record is held by Matt Amgwerd, who won 34 singles matches in the 1999-00 season.
As long as Coetzee can remain healthy, he will have five regular season matches left and an undetermined number of matches at the Mountain West Conference Championships. Coetzee may also get an invite to the NCAA singles tournament, which he has participated in the last two consecutive years.
Kowalski had an impressive showing at regionals in the fall. He entered as the seventh seed and quickly advanced to the semifinal round with four straight wins. His most impressive win was over the fourth seeded, No. 85 Guillaume Bouvier of Boise State. Kowalski sliced up Bouvier, 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the semifinals.
In the spring, he has gone 10-6 at No. 2 singles. He came into the year with a 41-25 career record and now he is 61-37 overall. That record leaves him 20th all-time and he still has one more year of eligibility.
Kowalski was honored Jan. 29 for his efforts against Northern Arizona. Kowalski started the match teaming with Ryan Stotland (then the No. 37 tandem in the nation) to defeat Thibault Schram and Lew DeLeon at No. 1 doubles, 9-8 (3). At No. 2 singles, the (previously 72nd-ranked) Kowalski easily defeated Jeremy Coll (6-2, 6-0) to complete the sweep.
Coetzee picked up the conference's honor on Feb. 4 for his achievements against Santa Clara and San Francisco. He went 2-0 in singles and 1-0 in doubles that weekend.
Stotland was honored March 3, when he went undefeated in two singles and two doubles matches Competing at the No. 4 spot, Stotland opened the weekend with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 victory over Nils Kleimann of No. 34 Boise State, followed with a straight set win (6-3, 6-3) over Colorado's Marek Dvorak two days later. In No. 1 doubles play, he teamed with David Kowalski (then-ranked No. 46 in the country) to beat the Bronco tandem of Guillaume Bouvier and Thomas Schoeck, 8-3, and the Buffaloes' Marcos Digliodo and Chad Tsuda, 8-4.
FALCONS REPORTS: Air Force enters its first weekend of conference competition at 12-8 overall. They are coming off of two straight wins, beating Montana, 4-3 and Northern Arizona, 5-2. Those two matches were their final home matches of the season, playing all of their conference season on the road.
Sophomore Shannon Buck, ranked No. 58, leads the way for the Falcons. Buck is 26-4 overall and 18-2 at No. 1 singles. Buck also plays No. 1 doubles with junior Tyler McClung. The duo is 17-5 overall and 15-4 at No. 1. Sophomore Trevor Johnson usually plays at No. 2 singles, where he is 10-6 (19-11 overall). McClung holds the teams second best record at 20-11. He usually competes in the third hole where he is 7-5 this season. Rounding out the singles lineup are Chris Dong, Justin Lau, and Sky Jensen. Dong is 14-16 overall and 3-5 at No. 4 while Lau is 14-8 overall and 4-4 at No. 5. Jensen, recently stepping into the rotation, is 4-7 overall and 3-3 at No. 6.
The remaining two tandems in doubles varies. Recently, Jensen and Johnson have taken over at No. 2, going 1-1. Lau and Dong could play in the third spot where they are 2-2.
SCOUTING THE AZTECS: San Diego State is coming off an upsetting loss to UNLV this past weekend which snapped a four-match win streak and dropped them in the rankings from No. 64 to 71. The Aztecs are coached by former Lobo Gene Carswell, who graduated in 1993.
Senior Felix Hardt, ranked 44th, jumped in the rankings from his previous No. 63 placing from the March 23 poles. Hardt is the Aztecs No. 1 singles and doubles player, recording a 15-8 overall singles record and 8-4 mark at No. 1. In doubles he is ranked with teammate Ryan Redondo at No. 40, going 7-3 overall and 5-2 in dual matches. Redondo climbed into No. 2 singles recently, where he is 3-3. He took the spot from Markus Dickhardt, who is 8-7 overall and now 3-2 at No. 3. Daniel Jung (16-6 overall) is a mainstay at No. 4 where he is 4-0 while Dontia Haynes (7-4) is solid at the fifth spot, going 4-1. Completing the order could be either Armando Carrascosa or Mike Coehlo. Carrascosa saw time this weekend and is 3-5 overall and 1-1 at No. 6. Coehle also saw time this weekend and is 4-13 overall and 2-6 at No. 6.
Recently playing in doubles for the Aztecs besides Hardt and Redondo have been Dickhardt and Haynes. They have gone 5-1 overall and 4-1 at No. 2. Jung and Coehlo have had limited success at No. 3, going 1-4 overall and 0-3 at No. 3.
REVIEWING THE REBELS: UNLV has come out strong in the conference season, holding the top spot after knocking off San Diego State last weekend. UNLV jumped into the national rankings, now placing at No. 70.
The Rebels recent success has catapulted Henner Nehles and Aviram Salomon into the national singles rankings. Nehles is ranked 74th with is 17-6 overall record and competes at No. 1 singles where he is 13-4. Salomon squeaked in at 125th with is 15-6 overall record and 8-4 mark at No. 2 singles. Romain Massaro has showed great ability as he is tied with Nehles for the most wins on the team. Massaro is 17-8 overall but just 4-7 at No. 3 singles. Joel Kielbowicz and David DeMartino have been consistant winners for the Rebels, competing in the fourth and fifth spots, respectively. Kielbowicz is 12-5 overall and 10-4 at No. 4 while DeMartino is 10-7 and 9-5 at No. 5. Completeing UNLV's lineup is Marko Blagojevic. He is 14-10 overall and 10-6 at No. 6.
Head coach Own Hambrook has switched things up recently pairing Massaro and Kielbowicz at No. 1 doubles and Nehles and Salomon at No. 2. Usually, Nehles and Kielbowicz play together, going 11-4 overall and 10-4 at No. 1. Massaro tends to team with Salomon, recording a 5-7 at No. 2. Rounding out the pairings are DiMartino and Blagojevic who are 10-4 overall.