Lobos Ready For NCAA Regionals, Washington
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  05/10/2004

May 10, 2004

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NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS HERE WE COME!: The 64th-ranked New Mexico Lobos (17-6, 5-0) drew the 23rd-ranked Washington Huskies (14-8) in the opening round of the NCAA Championships announced by the NCAA Men's Tennis Committee on ESPNews Wednesday, May 5. The third-seeded Lobos will play the second-seeded Huskies at Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif. on May 15th at 9 a.m. PT. Stanford (16-7), seeded 10th in the tournament overall, is the top seed in the region and will play Pacific (15-9) at 12 p.m. If the Lobos advance to the second round, they will play the winner of the Stanford-Pacific match-up at 12 p.m. on Sunday, May 16.

The 2004 appearance will be the first for the Lobos since 1999. In 1999, the Lobos lost 4-0 to Pepperdine in the first round. Overall, the Lobos have made nine team appearances in the tournament. Their first appearance was in 1991 and they made it every year through 1999.

New Mexico's best showing in the NCAA Championships was in 1996 and 1998. The Lobos won both games in the regional to advance to the Round of 16. UNM lost both appearances in that round.

The Lobos have never played Washington, Stanford or Pacific in the NCAA Championships but have faced each of them in regular season competition. The Lobos are 2-4 against the Huskies with Washington sweeping UNM 7-0 in the last meeting which was in 2003. Stanford holds the 3-1 all-time series advantage over New Mexico and the last time they squared off was in 1997 with the Cardinals claiming the 7-0 shutout. The one and only time the Lobos took on the Tigers, they downed Pacific 5-4.

The NCAA Men's Tennis Committee announced the selections to the singles and doubles championships Thursday, May 6 on the NCAA website (www.ncaasports.com). Senior Divan Coetzee will represent UNM for the third time in his career, every year he has donned the cherry and silver, in the singles tournament. Both competitions will be held May 26-31 in Tulsa, Okla. following the conclusion of the team championship. The bracket for the tournament has not been announced at this time.

Coetzee, ranked 22nd nationally, was the highest of four athletes to be selected out of the Mountain Region. Fellow Mountain West Conference athletes selected were No. 45 Erik Nyman of BYU and 73rd-ranked Henner Nehles of UNLV. Also selected from the Mountain Region was 55th-ranked Guillaume Bouvier of Boise State.

Senior Divan Coetzee will make his third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championships singles competition.

With Coetzee's appearance in the singles tournament this year, he will break away from a three-way tie for most appearances by a New Mexico men's tennis player. Coetzee was tied for two appearances with Steve Otero and Tad Berkowitz. Otero represented the Lobos in 1983 and '85 while Berkowitz went in 1994 and '95.

Including Coetzee, New Mexico has sent 15 different men to the NCAA singles tournament. The first, Van Hill, went in 1968 going 3-1 but the best record was that of Tim Garcia in 1976 when he went 4-1 in the tournament. Coetzee is 0-2.

The Lobos were denied a bid to the doubles tournament. Juniors David Kowalski and Ryan Stotland are tied 61st with Erik Nyman and Nima Roshan of BYU and Braden Olson and Merek Gebicki of Montana State, but BYU and MSU got the automatic selections from the region having both defeated Kowalski and Stotland in the regular season.

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WASHINGTON HUSKIES: Washington (14-8, 4-3 Pac-10) has won its regional each of the past three years, advancing to the final 16-team NCAA Tournament field on each occasion. The men finished in sole possession of fourth place in the Pac-10 standings with a 4-3 record. USC and UCLA shared the conference title with 6-1 records, followed by Stanford who finished 5-2.

Junior All-American Alex Vlaski is the anchor of the Huskies' singles lineup. Always facing the opposition's top gun, Vlaski has amassed an exceptional 19-4 record against ranked foes this season including eight wins over players in the top-25, and four over top-10 players. His overall record stands at 27-6. Vlaski's 90 wins put him in fourth place on UW's career singles wins list. This fall, Vlaski became the first Husky national champion since 1924 by winning the ITA All-American Singles Championship. As the fourth seed in the prestigious tournament, Vlaski defeated three players ranked in the top-20 of the ITA rankings en route to the title.

Freshman Alex Slovic has made an immediate major impact on the collegiate tennis world. In the latest ITA Rankings, Slovic shot up to a new career high of 27. Slovic now sits as the second highest-ranked freshman in the nation. The freshman already owns nine wins over ranked opponents and earlier this season recorded an 11-match winning streak. Slovic has dominated most of his competition, winning 24 of his 25 matches in straight sets.

STANFORD CARDINAL: The Cardinal finished third in the Pac-10 with a 16-7 overall record and a 5-2 mark in conference play. Stanford, the host of the regional, enters the weekend with a No. 9 national ranking. The Cardinal have faced 21 ranked opponents this season, posting a 14-7 record. Legendary coach Dick Gould, who will step down from coaching to assume the position of Director of Tennis for Stanford University at the conclusion of the season, has posted a 773-147 (.840) record during his tenure on The Farm.

Stanford University men's tennis player Sam Warburg was selected as the 2004 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year, as voted on by the league coaches. Freshman standout James Wan was named the 2004 Pac-10 Co-Newcomer of the Year, sharing the award with Washington's Alex Slovic.

Warburg compiled a 28-7 overall record and claimed the Pacific-10 Singles Championship. Warburg recorded a 19-3 dual match record and went 15-2 versus Pac-10 opponents. Warburg climbed the ITA rankings, starting the year at No. 71 and finishing with a career-high No. 8 ranking in the latest ITA poll. Warburg recorded a 19-3 record versus ranked opponents and a perfect 7-0 record versus opponents ranked in the top 25.

Wan, currently ranked No. 102 in the latest ITA rankings, posted a 27-4 overall record and a near perfect 23-1dual match record playing primarily at the No. 3 and No. 4 singles spots. Wan went 11-2 versus Pac-10 opponents.

Head Coach Alan Dils has led the Lobos to four previous NCAA Championship appearances.

PACIFIC TIGERS: The Tigers won the Big West Championship as a third seed with a 15-9 this season. Pacific has played nine ranked opponents including Washington and MWC members BYU and San Diego State. The Tigers lost all three matches.

Pacific sophomore Lennart Maack was honored as the 2004 Big West Player of the Year and Guido Baumann was named the 2004 Big West Coach of the Year.

Maack posted a dual match record of 18-4 this season as Pacific's primary No. 1 singles player. The sophomore went 5-0 against Big West opponents. Maack takes an 11-match winning streak into the NCAA Tournament, two of those wins having come against nationally-ranked players. Maack is ranked 68th in the latest ITA poll.

Baumann, in his seventh season at Pacific, earns his second Coach of the Year award having received the honor in 2001. He has led the Tigers to their second Big West championship and their third NCAA Tournament appearance in the last five seasons. Baumann owns a career record of 92-68 at Pacific and has guided the program to the Big West championship match in each of the last four seasons.

RECORD BREAKING YEAR: Senior Divan Coetzee, ranked No. 22, has made history at UNM. Coetzee has taken control of the single season record for wins. He is currently 37-9 overall and 19-4 at No. 1 singles. The record was previously held by Matt Amgwerd, who won 34 singles matches in the 1999-00 season.

Coetzee now has a career record of 96-29 that he has compiled in three short years. Coetzee is tied with Pepe Caballero for the most wins in UNM men's tennis history. Caballero, playing from 1995-99, went 96-56 overall.

As long as Coetzee can remain healthy, he will have an undetermined number of matches in the NCAA Team Tournament. The Lobos will definitely play one game ... Coetzee may also get an invite to the NCAA singles tournament, which he has participated in the last two consecutive years.

NIPPING AT HIS HEALS: While senior Divan Coetzee is having a record breaking year and getting all the attention, you may not have noticed the play of junior David Kowalski.

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 14-8 at No. 2 singles. He came into the year with a 41-25 career record and now he is 65-39 overall. That record leaves him 17th all-time and he still has one more year of eligibility.