(Editor’s Note: Montana Sports Information release)
FLAGSTAFF, AZ – The Montana men’s tennis team dropped a 6-1 decision to the Big Sky’s No. 2 ranked Northern Arizona at altitude in Flagstaff on Friday, with the Lumberjacks fending off a late Grizzly comeback attempt.
It was the second league loss of the season for UM, now sitting at 3-2 in Big Sky play (6-5 overall) and dropping them from a tie for second to sixth on the conference table.
Securing the only win for the Griz was sophomore Ludvig Hallgren, who defeated Adi Zilberstein in straight sets (6-1, 7-6 (6-2)) to pick up his fifth victory in the last six matches.
Montana fell behind early when Alexander Canellopoulos and Hallgren lost 6-3 on doubles court three, forcing the Griz to need two-straight wins to seal the point.
Yannick Schmidl continued his sterling doubles play, picking up a 6-2 win on court two with Max Korkh.
With the point on the line, seniors Ignacio Tejerina and Victor Casadevall couldn’t seal an upset over NAU’s Handel/Fisher pair (who had previously spent time in the ITA’s national doubles ranking) falling 6-4 to give point and the momentum to the ‘Jacks.
Casadevall, who has been battling tendonitis in his knee, put the Griz down 0-2 early in the singles round with a straight-set loss to Lucas Taylor on court two.
Hallgren’s win put the Griz on the board and within striking distance when Schmidl dropped a close 6-3, 6-4 match with last year’s Big Sky MVP Tim Handel to put UM down 1-3.
On courts three and four, Montana was scrapping neck-and-neck with NAU, as Canellopoulos and Tejerina each dropped 7-5, 7-5 decisions that would have tied the match for Montana, but instead clinched the match for NAU.
Meanwhile, Korkh was in with a chance to bet Chris Steele on court five, falling in a third-set tiebreaker 6-4, 6-7, 10-8.
The Griz now travel to Cedar City to take on the Southern Utah Thunderbirds on Saturday at 10 a.m., needing a win to remain in the running for a trip to the Big Sky tourney.
Northern Arizona 6, Montana 1
4/6/2018 at Flagstaff, Ariz. (Aquatic and Tennis Complex) Singles competition
1. Tim Handel (NAU) def. SCHMIDL, Yannick (UM) 6-3, 6-4
2. TAYLOR, Lucas (NAU) def. CASADEVALL, Victor (UM) 6-1, 6-2
3. Ruben Montano (NAU) def. CANELLOPOULOS, Alex (UM) 7-5, 7-5
4. Sebastian Eguez (NAU) def. TEJERINA, Ignacio (UM) 7-5, 7-5
5. STEELE, Chris (NAU) def. KORKH, Max (UM) 6-4, 6-7, 10-8
6. HALLGREN, Ludvig (UM) def. Adi Zilberstein (NAU) 6-1, 7-6 (6-2)
1. Tim Handel/FISHER, Thomas (NAU) def. TEJERINA, Ignacio/CASADEVALL, Victor (UM) 6-4
2. KORKH, Max/SCHMIDL, Yannick (UM) def. Adi Zilberstein/TAYLOR, Lucas (NAU) 6-2
3. Ruben Montano/Sebastian Eguez (NAU) def. CANELLOPOULOS, Alex/HALLGREN, Ludvig (UM) 6-3
Montana 6-5, 3-2 BSC
Northern Arizona 8-10, 6-2 BSC
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,6,1,3,4,5)