NM State Clinches No. 2 Seed in WAC Tourney
The New Mexico State University men's tennis team wrapped up the regular season with a 4-2 win over Nevada on Sunday, April 24, clinching the No. 2 seed for the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
In his first season as head coach of the men's tennis team, Carlos Vargas has led the Aggies to a 14-7 overall record and a 4-2 conference record. The 14-7 record is the best finish for the Aggies since 2000 when the Aggies went 15-6 while playing in the Big West Conference. The 4-2 puts NM State at No. 2 in the conference, the best finish for the Aggies since joining the WAC in 2006.
As a team the Aggies won 120 total singles matches and 50 doubles matches. Senior Jim Brouleau, senior Arthur Surreaux and sophomore Orlando Superlano each finished the season with at least 20 singles wins. Superlano led the team with a 27-7 record. Brouleau finished 22-9 and Surreaux finished 21-15.
Brouleau and Superlano also won at least 20 doubles matches apiece. Brouleau finished 20-13 and Superlano finished 20-9. Surreaux was one match off from the 20-mark, finishing 19-13.
The 4-2 victory over Nevada capped off a weekend where the Aggies defeated three conference opponents. NM State defeated Idaho 5-0 on Thursday, April 21, and then defeated No. 50 Boise State 4-2 on Friday, April 22.
The Aggies started off slow in doubles, dropping the doubles point. Sophomore Luis Ramirez and freshman Marc Westgate defeated Kyle Walker and Nathan Reix 8-6 in the No. 3 match.
"This was a big battle for us that was complicated by our slow start in doubles," Vargas said.
The Aggies heated up in singles where they have been dominant all season. The Aggie seniors led NM State to victory in their last regular season match.
In his last regular season singles match as an Aggie, Brouleau defeated Kristian Kuharszky 6-3, 6-3, in the No. 2 match. Surreaux fought an injury during his final match, falling to Wessim Derbel 6-3, 6-4, in the No. 1 match.
The bottom of the lineup provided the most dominating performances for the Aggies. Ramirez defeated Walker 6-2, 6-1, in the No. 5 match and freshman Felipe Frattini defeated Nathan Reix 6-3, 6-0, in the No. 6 match.
While the bottom of the lineup provided domination, the middle of the lineup provided the drama for the match. The No. 3 and 4 matches were the last to finish, with the Aggies up 3-2.
After losing the first set and already down in the second set, junior Matej Stakne came from behind to win the second set and force a final set against Quentin Mege in the No. 4 match.
In the mean time, Superlano was battling Victor Ouvard deep into the third set. On match point, Superlano rushed the net off a deflected shot by Ouvard and smashed a shot past Ouvard into the left corner of the court to win the match 7-6, 4-6, 7-6. Superlano's victory clinched the 4-2 win for the Aggies.
"Matej coming back to win his second set made a huge difference for us because it took some of the pressure off Superlano's match," Vargas said. "However, if there is one guy that wanted to go onto the court and win a match to clinch a victory for us, Superlano is that guy."
NM State will enter the WAC tournament as a No. 2 seed, the highest seed the Aggies have ever earned since playing in the WAC. NM State will receive a first-round bye, and will play the winner of the Idaho/Boise State match in the semifinals.
The WAC tournament will begin May 1 and will take place in Boise, Idaho.
NM State-4, Nevada-2
1. Wessim Derbel (UN) def. Arthur Surreaux (NMSU) 6-3, 6-4
2. Jim Brouleau (NMSU) def. Kristian Kuharszky (UN) 6-3, 6-3
3. Orlando Superlano (NMSU) def. Victor Ouvard (UN) 7-6, 4-6, 7-6
4. Matej Stakne (NMSU) vs. Quentin Mege (UN) 3-6, 7-5, 4-5 (unfinished)
5. Luis Ramirez (NMSU) def. Kyle Walker (UN) 6-2, 6-1
6. Felipe Frattini (NMSU) def. Nathan Reix (UN) 6-3, 6-0
1. Kuharszky/Ouvard (UN) def. Brouleau/Stakne (NMSU) 9-7
2. Mege/Derbel (UN) def. Superlano Surreaux (NMSU) 8-4
3. Ramirez/Westgate (NMSU) def. Reix/Walker (UN) 8-6