The men’s and women’s tennis team will both finish the season on its home court, in a position that garners special recognition among University of New Mexico athletics.
UNM saw all 21 sports programs exceed a passing mark in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate Institutional Report, according to a University release. Both tennis squads led the way with perfect four-year scores of 1000.
Women’s match to honor veterans
In addition to academic excellence and fine play on the court, the teams will close out the season by showing respect and compassion toward others.
The women host Air Force on Saturday in its season finale, which will be a military appreciation match. Active duty and retired personnel receive a free lunch for attending.
The match is scheduled for noon at the McKinnon Family Tennis Center, weather permitting. There is an indoor venue, Linda Estes Tennis Center, across the street if the forecasted high winds become an issue.
The Lobos are 13-6 and a perfect 5-0 in conference play, while Air Force enters play with a 13-10 record and is 1-3 in conference. New Mexico has won its last six matches and has not suffered a loss on its home court this season.
New Mexico likely has its sights on something larger than going undefeated in conference play, but head coach Kelcy McKenna said it would still mean a lot if they are able to accomplish the feat.
“It would really pay dividends for all the hard work the girls have put in,” she said. “It’s kind of a stepping stone towards our bigger goals and I think that’s important too.”
Men’s Tennis helps former coach
On the men’s side, New Mexico wraps up the regular season against non-conference rival Denver in its annual “Friends of Loren Dils ALS Fundraiser” at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Denver, 15-7, is riding a four-match winning streak and hopes to catapult into the top 50 in the national rankings, while New Mexico, 15-13, looks to win its third straight and end the season on a high note.
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Loren Dils, the twin brother of former Lobo men’s tennis coach Alan Dils, also served as an assistant coach before he was diagnosed with the disease.
Head coach Bart Scott said he replaced Loren as an assistant, who also coached Scott when he was younger. He said the team always holds a fundraiser for Dils in the last match, something he always looks forward to.
A pre-match barbecue and tailgate will take place at noon at the McKinwnon Family Tennis Center, which is located on the south end of WisePies Arena near the baseball fields. There is a suggested donation of $25.
Up next the teams will prepare for conference championships, which start Wednesday, April 27 for both teams. The women will attempt to defend its title in Fort Collins, Colorado, while the men travel to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Although Denver is the last scheduled match for the men, Scott said it is still possible postponed matches against San Diego State or Fresno State could be made up in Las Vegas prior to the championships, if approved.
Robert Maler is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers cross country, tennis, and track and field. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @robert_maler.