STORY BY MONTANA SPORTS INFORMATION
MISSOULA – Down 3-1 after falling in the doubles round and dropping two of the first three singles matches, the Montana men’s tennis team pulled off yet another come from behind miracle, a carbon copy of the Ball State comeback on March 8.
This time, though, the UM rally counts toward the Big Sky standings as the Griz knocked off Sacramento State 4-3 in California. While any road win is a good one, this one is especially sweet for Montana, defeating a Hornets team picked to finish one spot of them in the preseason poll.
The victory moves the Griz to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in league play, setting the tone for the rest of the season and giving them an important leg up in the race to finish in the top six on the Big Sky table.
To pull off the win, UM needed to take victories on each of the final three singles courts.
Thanks to the calm heads of three seniors, the Griz did just that, taking three-set matches on all three of the final positions to rally for the win.
“Even though we were down, these guys all believed. It was an awesome team effort,” said interim head coach Jason Brown.
When the doubles point was called in the Hornets favor, all three courts were locked in a tiebreaker. It was then Brown and the Griz knew they were going to be in for a fight.
“We talked after the doubles and said everyone is responsible for a point, and they pulled it off. Across the board, I was happy with the team effort,” added Brown. “Sac. State had some guys playing well, but we didn’t give up. There was a point where I wasn’t believing, to be honest, but the guys stepped it up and just played great.”
As he did against Ball State, Ignacio Tejerina clinched the comeback for the Griz with a third-set come from behind nail-biter on court four (4-6, 7-5, 7-5).
Before that, Victor Casadevall put the Griz in a position for Tejerina to seal the win with a three-set marathon of his own, bouncing back to beat Hornet star Mikus Losbergs 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 on court one.
Tejerina and Casadevall’s wins were made even more impressive by the fact that both had to fight off cramps to power through for a victory.
“We just decided we have to get over it, and we did,” said Tejerina. “But it was a team effort, a crazy match.”
On court two, Yannick Schmidl dominated the third set to defeat Dom Miller 5-7, 7-5, 6-1 on court two. His win closed the gap to make it a 3-2 match after Ludvig Hallgren picked up a 6-2, 6-3 win on court six.
Montana now looks to upset the Nevada Wolfpack when the Griz travel to Reno for a match against the Mountain West Conference foe. The Griz/Wolfpack match will be played at the Lakeridge Tennis Club in Reno due to rainy weather. First serves are scheduled to go up at Noon (MT) on Sunday, March 25.