It marks the third time in four seasons that both teams come into their annual meeting ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll. But it is also the first time that NM State (4-3) enters the scuffle with a higher ranking.
UNM (4-2) has won 10 of the last 12 meetings in the series, but the Aggies snapped the Lobos' nine-match win streak the last time the rivals met in Las Cruces. In 2010 No. 72 NM State upset No. 57 New Mexico, 4-3. Junior Luis Ramirez secured that victory over the Lobos as a freshman with a three-set win at No. 6 singles.
This season the teams share just one common opponent, No. 75 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi. The Aggies lost their opener to the Islanders 4-3 on Jan. 19. TXAMCC then traveled to Albuquerque where the Lobos blanked their guests, 7-0, on Jan. 23.
The Aggies are coming off of a very successful three-match sweep in Las Vegas last weekend. NM State knocked off No. 54 UNLV 5-2 on its home court Sunday. The Aggies also cruised to victories over Loyola Marymount and UC Riverside earlier in the weekend.
The win against the Runnin' Rebels marked the Aggies' first victory against a ranked foe this year in four outings. UNM is the fifth ranked opponent NM State will face through eight matches in this early part of the season.
Both teams are very familiar with each other, playing once yearly on a home-and-home basis that rotates every season. The Lobos visited Las Cruces last fall at the Aggie Invitational and some of the Aggies competed at UNM's Balloon Fiesta Invite in Albuquerque a few weeks later.
The Lobos' Jadon Phillips is ranked No. 81 in the ITA national singles rankings. Phillips is also ranked in doubles at No. 16 in the country with partner Phillip Anderson.
Aggie senior captain Matej Stakne is currently ranked No. 15 in the ITA Mountain Regional singles rankings. He is 3-4 this year at No. 1 singles and 5-0 at No. 1 doubles with partner Ramirez.
The rivalry has been close over the past four seasons with a trio of 5-2 UNM victories and the Aggies' 4-3 win.
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