No. 68 Lobos Host Denver Saturday
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/24/2004

March 24, 2004

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WHAT'S ON TAP: An extremely old rivalry will resume Saturday, March 27 at the UNM Tennis Club as the Lobos (7-5) host the Denver Pioneers (9-7). New Mexico holds a 20-12 series lead.

The Lobos and the Pioneers have not met in a dual match since 1971. The last meeting was won by New Mexico, 9-0. Denver has not beat the Lobos since its 6-1 win in 1962. The Pioneers did participate in the Balloon Fiesta in October, taking home the doubles crown.

This season, Denver is 3-0 against Mountain West Conference teams. They beat BYU 5-2, Air Force 4-3, and Utah 6-1. The Lobos are 1-0 so far this year against the Sun Belt Conference after their 4-3 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Overall, New Mexico is 16-8 against the Sun Belt Conference.

PIONEERS PREVIEW: Denver comes to Albuquerque with a 9-7 overall record. The Pioneers were ranked nationally last week, tied for 75th, but dropped out of the standings with their 6-1 loss to Yale. They most recently beat Loyola Marymount 5-2.

Denver's top singles player is Nejc Smole, ranked No. 94 nationally. Smole is 10-5 at No. 1 singles and 19-10 overall. Usually competing in the second spot is Hans Peter Gaber (5-10 at No. 2, 10-17 overall). Viktor Zetterholm has played the majority of the matches at No. 3 and Urban Ljubic at No. 4. Zetterholm is 4-8 at No. 3 (12-16 overall) and Ljubic is 2-4 at No. 4 (2-4 overall). In the fifth hole, Jason Tan has seen the most playing time, going 7-2 and 15-12 overall. Rounding out the lineup will most likely be Niko Popovic who is 9-5 at No. 6 and 15-11 overall.

Playing in the first spot for doubles will be Smole and Zetterholm. The duo is 6-6 at No. 1 and 15-9 overall. Most likely playing at No. 2 will be Gaber and Popovic. The tandem is 8-4 there and 16-6 overall. The team of Ljubic and Tan or Ljubic and Flaks should complete the doubles pairings. Ljubic and Tan are 3-2 at No. 3 while Ljubic and Flaks are 2-5.

Sophomore Henry Gers is on a four-match win streak in singles.

RECORD BREAKING YEAR: Senior Divan Coetzee has a career record of 87-29 that he has compiled in three short years. Coetzee needs eight 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 28-9 overall and 10-4 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 seven 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.

ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN: The Lobos have claimed three Mountain West Conference Player of the Week honors out of four. The recepients were none other than senior Divan Coetzee and juniors David Kowalski and Ryan Stotland.

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.