STORY BY MONTANA SPORTS INFORAMTION
MISSOULA – After going undefeated at Weber State and Idaho State last week to improve on his league-best 8-1 singles record, Montana senior Yannick Schmidl has been named the Big Sky Men’s Tennis Player of the Week the conference announced Wednesday.
It is the first Player of the Week honor of Schmidl’s career, and the first for the Grizzlies so far this season.
With dominant play for UM all season, Schmidl moved to the top of the Grizzly lineup last week for the first time, not skipping a beat by going 2-0 at No. 1 singles and 2-0 at No. 2 doubles to complete the weekend sweep.
Interim head coach Jason Brown says Schmidl is embracing his role as a senior leader on the team, heading the charge for the Grizzlies as they aim to return to the Big Sky Championship match.
“He’s the absolute emotional catalyst, and the nice thing is even if he wasn’t winning he’d be that, but when you’re doing that and dominating the competition, it helps exponentially,” said Brown.
“He’s a vocal leader, he’s an emotional leader on the court, he’s pouring his heart out every match in singles and doubles, he’s making everyone around him better, and he’s winning on top of it.”
At Weber State, Schmidl came back from a first set deficit to defeat Stefan Cooper, the week one Big Sky Player of the Week, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. In doubles, Schmidl and his partner Max Korkh breezed past Weber’s Walkusz/Van Schoor pair 6-2 to help clinch the point for UM.
At Idaho State, Schmidl once again came back to defeat one half of the Bengal’s nationally ranked doubles pair Peter Trhac 6-2, 2-6, 6-1, to help the Griz to a 7-0 victory. He and Korkh also picked up a 6-3 win in doubles to go undefeated on the weekend.
Schmidl made history earlier this season, becoming the first men’s player at Montana to ever earn a national ranking at No. 77 on the March 7 ITA national doubles poll along with his partner Alex Canellopoulos, a clear sign of his leadership abilities.
“It’s easy enough to X and O on the sideline, but at game speed when things are going on, Yannick, like every truly great athlete, is great at slowing things down, not getting caught up in the moment, and taking a very analytical approach. I couldn’t be more excited about him and everything he’s done for the program,” Brown added.
Schmidl and the Grizzlies will play their final road matches of the season this week, heading to Northern Arizona and Southern Utah before returning home for five-straight home matches to complete the regular season.