03 Dec 2021 | 07:17 | Tennis
The Montana men’s tennis team returns to action this week for a crucial Big Sky Conference match against the University of Idaho on Friday at the Peak Racquet Club in Missoula.
The Griz (6-10, 0-1 BSC) return home after an up and down couple of weeks on the road to face the Vandals (5-4, 1-0 BSC) at the Peak, with opening serves going up at 12:30 p.m.
Admission is free, but masks are required for entry. Links to live scoring can be found at GoGriz.com/MTEN.
With one conference loss under its belt, Montana is currently tied for third in the Big Sky North Division standings, with Idaho right ahead at 1-0 following the Vandals’ win over Eastern Washington last week.
UM’s only conference loss this season came at Portland State, which now leads the north at 3-0 in league play.
With only the top two teams from each division advancing to the conference championship tourney in Phoenix, it’s do-or-die time for the Griz.
Luckily, the Peak courts have been very good to UM in recent years, with the Griz boasting a 25-4 home record over the past five seasons.
“It’s go time. Our goal is to get everybody clicking at the right time. We always point toward April, and it’s here. These are the matches we want to win. I think we’re ready,” said head coach Jason Brown.
“We’re really excited to be back home in the Peak. Tennis is a funny game of home-court advantage, and especially with how strange travel has been this year, I think being at home will be a big advantage for us.”
The Griz will look to that home-court advantage to help them rebound from a pair of losses to Air Force and Idaho State last week and find the form that led them to an upset win over No. 62 Gonzaga just two weeks ago in Spokane.
Freshmen Moritz Stoeger and Guillermo Martin have come on strong for UM as of late, with Stoeger winning four of his last six in singles and Martin taking three of his last four, helping solidify the bottom of the Grizzly lineup.
The team’s lone senior, Chase Bartlett, has also won three of his last four, taking an impressive straight-set win on court two against ISU’s Aleksander Petrovic 7-6, 6-3
“There are still a lot of good feelings after that Gonzaga win because it showed what this team can do when it comes together. I think that still exists,” said Brown.
“We’re looking at this as an opportunity. We’ve tasted some defeat this year, and I think we’re kind of tired of it. I think we can put it together for these next few weekends and still accomplish our goals.”
Idaho is led by Bruno Casino, who comes to Missoula with a 6-2 singles record on court three and four. Two-time Big Sky Player of the Week Francisco Bascon is close behind at 5-3 in singles on court one.
Montana returns to action next weekend with a pair of home matches against Eastern Washington and Weber State on April 17 and 18, respectively. The Griz then cap the regular season with the annual Brawl of the Wild match against Montana State in Missoula on April 24.
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