NAU men's tennis topped Weber State in a 6-1 win Saturday to secure the top spot in the Big Sky South heading into the conference tournament. The Lumberjacks looked a step ahead all day.
The doubles portion was in NAU’s control from the start with the pairs of senior Chris Steele and freshman Dominick Buzonics, and freshman Maciej Ziomber and junior Daniel Dillon both jumping out to 3-0 leads. Dillon and Ziomber made use of their speed and strong play at the net to keep the Wildcats at bay during their matchup and delivering the pair a 6-2 victory. Steele and Buzonics relied more on their services to lead them to a dominant 6-1 victory. The two pairs made the result of the match on court one irrelevant as the Lumberjacks moved onto singles with a 1-0 lead.
NAU quickly extended the lead as Weber State senior Kris Van Wyk retired on court one of singles, meaning the Lumberjacks were just two matches away from securing the win and the one seed. Steele once again came out red-hot, handling set one 6-1. His doubles partner, Buzonics, also had success in his singles matchup, jumping out to a 4-1 lead before trading sets the rest of the way to win 6-3.
The other significant Lumberjacks lead came on court six from sophomore Alex Groves, who took his first set 6-2. After massively frustrating his opponent, Buzonics became the first Lumberjack to wrap his match, winning in a dominant 6-2 fashion and energizing the rest of the team. Buzonics’ match was perhaps the most heated of the day, with his opponent even talking to the crowd that had gathered to cheer on the freshman at one point.
“It’s not easy to finish a conference match,” Buzonics said. “The team helped all the time.”
With one set to go, it was a race between Steele and Groves to lock up the No. 1 seed. Steele had to battle through a grueling second set, while Groves started strong and took an early lead. The race finished in Steele’s favor, with the senior winning the second set 6-4. Groves would follow just a few minutes later, winning 6-2 and 6-2. However, the match ended on a controversial call that prompted jeering as Groves walked off the court.
The final match of the day was Ziomber’s. The freshman dropped his first set, but came back to take a 6-3 win in the second set. With all the momentum heading into the tiebreaker, Ziomber jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, winning 10-4.
‘It feels amazing for our guys,” NAU head coach Maciej Bogusz said about winning the Big Sky South. “It’s just amazing to see that everything is coming together.”
The Lumberjacks now have a slate of nonconference games prior to the Big Sky tournament. Their next match will be April 7 as they travel to Colorado Springs, Colorado to take on Air Force as they start a road trip that will be the final leg of their season.