Aztecs Sneak Past UNM 4-3

April 14, 2013

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SAN DIEGO, CALIF. -- Conor Berg thought he had the point won. However, when his opponents shot caught a gust of wind and stayed in, the point was lost, and so was the match.

New Mexico had taken back control of the match after losing the doubles point and had momentum on their side. San Diego State hung tough at home, staved off the upset bid and clinched the Mountain West Conference regular season title beating the Lobos 4-3 on a cool, overcast San Diego Sunday.

The Aztecs won the doubles point with relatively sound wins at numbers one and two. The match at number three was stopped with SDSU leading 7-5.

SDSU kept the pedal to the metal winning first sets at numbers two, three, four, and five. UNM dug in and started to fight back with a quick win at number six as freshman Andy Van Der Vyver knocked off his opponent 6-2, 6-0 in less than an hour leveling the match at 1-1.

At number one, Jadon Phillips kept his momentum going from his 7-6 in the third set match clinch on Friday in Reno against Nevada by winning in straight sets today 6-2, 7-6 (5) over SDSU's Thorsten Bertch.

When Phillips closed out his match, minutes after SDSU won at four, to make it 2-2 both Conor Berg and James Hignett ran away with second sets, sending their matches to the third sets.

Sam Iftikhar was battling as the momentum was clearly on the side of the Lobos. Down a set and an early break, Iftikhar worked his way back into the match sending his second set into a tie breaker.

Unfortunately, his opponent Hunter Nicholas, recognized if he gave up the second set, the Lobos would be in great position to steal this match. Nicholas hung tough and won the tie breaker putting SDSU 3-2 up and one win away from clinching the MWC Regular Season Championship.

Hignett raced out to a 4-0 lead in the third at five and Berg was down 5-3 in the third set of his match at number two. If Berg could hold, he would start the tenth game up 15-0 due to a carry-over point penalty from a court one SDSU code violation.

Down match point at 3-5, Berg hit a great serve, got a short reply, hit a heavy approach shot that shot of his opponents racquet heading two feet long. Thinking he would be back to deuce, Berg left the shot, but a heavy head wind helped the ball drop just inside the baseline. Game. Set. Match. Aztecs.

That quickly SDSU wrestled away the momentum, the Lobos worked so hard to grasp and sealed the match 4-2. In the now dead rubber James Hignett, already up 4-1 in the third won the final two games to make the final score SDSU 4 UNM 3.

The Lobos will next play conference opponent Air Force on April 21, 2013 away. UNM will stay there directly after to play in the Mountain West Championship on April 25-28, 2013 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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