03 Dec 2021 | 07:12 | Tennis
The Montana men’s tennis team returns to a more traditional-looking schedule for the 2021-22 school year with a full slate of fall tournaments and eight home matches in the spring dual season, head coach Jason Brown announced Thursday.
The Griz, who return to action after a disappointing 9-10 campaign in the spring of ’21, will keep the season ahead mostly local, renewing old rivalries throughout the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountain West.
With a senior-laden squad, Brown’s Grizzlies will test themselves against some of the region’s best, with six tournaments set for the fall, including a return to the ITA Mountain Regional, where Oisin Shaffrey made a run to the round of 16 in his last appearance in 2019.
In the spring, the Griz will open the championship duals season in mid-January with a pair of nonconference matches that will feature the U.S. Air Force Academy, which makes its first-ever trip to Missoula. UM has played in two duals against the Zoomies at their campus in Colorado Springs over the past three seasons, coming away with narrow losses each time.
“I’m really excited about Air Force coming up here. I think it is a great experience for our guys, and we’ve played them tight the last few years down there. It’s tough to get teams to come up to Missoula, so hats off to them for making the trip,” said Brown.
Montana will also travel to Spokane to face Gonzaga in nonconference action, where UM picked up a massive upset over the-then-No. 62 ranked Bulldogs at the Stevens Tennis Center.
Since taking over the UM program in 2018, Brown’s Grizzlies have enjoyed an unprecedented home-court advantage, with the fifth-year coach racking up a 21-2 overall record in Missoula in that time.
Montana might have to lean on that home-court advantage as well in 2022, with the cream of the Big Sky crop set to visit Missoula in the heart of the conference schedule for matches that are likely to determine UM’s postseason fate.
“We’ve had a lot of success in The Peak over the last decade. Since it was built, really, it has been very, very, good to us,” Brown added.
“So, to have Sac State, Weber State, and both teams that played in the championship last year in Idaho State and Northern Arizona coming to play us here is really nice.”
The Griz open the fall tournament season on Sept. 10 at the Dar Walters Classic at Boise State.
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