Nov. 1, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (SMU) - The SMU Mustangs experienced a successful weekend at the Conference Challenge hosted by Texas A&M, this past Friday through Sunday.
Arturs Kazijevs defeated a talented pair from Illinois. In first round singles play, Kazijevs beat Fighting Illini freshman Brian Page in straight sets, 6-4; 6-3. Page was the 11th-ranked recruit according to www.tennisrecruiting.net this offseason. Kazijevs lost in the second round, but rebounded to defeat Bruno Abdelnour of Illinois in the third round, 6-2; 7-6. Abdelnour, a senior, is currently ranked 120th in the nation.
SMU freshman Nate Lammons, who redshirted last season, continued his strong play this spring at the Conference Challenge. This included a win over Will Suk of LSU, a fellow second-year freshman. Suk won the North Carolina singles title three straight years in high school (2009-2011).
Head Coach Carl Neufeld is thrilled about Lammons' solid play thus far and likes how he's developing as a player.
"His redshirt year has proved to be valuable," Neufeld said. "He's playing well with top recruits across the country."
Neufeld explained his strategy of redshirting players, hoping that it helps them down the road as their career lengthens. He also stated that he thinks Lammons is ahead of schedule.
"I'm hoping they can be equal or better than other top recruits by year four or five," Neufeld said. "For Lammons, it's taken one year."
Kazijevs partnered with Mischa Nowicki in doubles, and almost pulled off a huge win over Shane Vanzant and Harrison Adams of Texas A&M. The Aggies duo won the doubles championship at the prestigious Texas Regional earlier in the season, and the Mustangs pair gave them all they could ask for on the third day of competition. SMU ultimately lost 9-8 in a tiebreaker after not losing serve the entire match.
The Mustangs will look to earn more victories at the Easley Memorial hosted by UNLV starting tomorrow.