STORY BY MONTANA SPORTS INFORMATION
CEDAR CITY, UT – Montana’s men’s tennis team got the response it needed as the Griz overcame off-court adversity and a lack of rest to defeat Southern Utah 5-2 on Saturday, less than 24 hours after a tough loss at Northern Arizona.
Following the day’s play in Flagstaff on Friday, Montana made the five-hour trek to Cedar City, where the match had been moved up to 10 a.m. the following morning to squeeze it in before a change in the weather rolled in.
“That was 100 percent a trap match. We traveled to Utah late, went straight to the hotel, slept a little bit, and went straight to the courts in the morning,” said interim head coach Jason Brown. “The way these guys stepped up was huge.”
Now at 4-2 in conference play, the win over SUU puts the Griz in prime position to finish in the top six on the Big Sky table to earn a trip to the conference championship, as they head home for the final five matches of the year.
The lack of sleep showed early for the Griz, falling behind in the doubles round early with Alexander Canellopoulos and Zach Fisher taking a heavy 6-1 loss.
Montana wouldn’t stay behind for long, however, as Victor Casadevall and Ignacio Tejerina came through with a court one win (6-3) over SUU’s Tordoff/Morales pair, a team who had beaten the UM duo during the fall tournament season.
“Victor and Nacho played outstanding doubles,” added Brown. “I’m very happy with the way we responded there.”
The Grizzlies’ top overall doubles player Yannick Schmidl and his partner Max Korkh then sealed the match for UM with a 6-4 decider on court two, putting the Griz out to a 1-0 team lead.
Casadevall and Tejerina carried their energy over into the singles round, putting UM out to a 3-0 lead with a pair of wins on court two and four, respectively.
Once again Casadevall had little trouble with Conor Tordoff, rolling out to a 6-2, 6-2 straight-set win. Tejerina was nearly as efficient in his win on four, defeating Guy Feigin 6-2, 6-3 to extend Montana’s lead.
Schmidl then dropped one of UM’s two matches on court one to SUU lefty Jonathan Morales 4-6, 4-6 – just his second loss in Big Sky play all season.
Canellopoulos’ singles slump continued on court three, suffering his fifth loss in the last six outings with a 5-7, 2-6 loss to Agustin Tamagnone that brought the home team within a point of the Griz with two courts still in play.
With the match hanging on the results of the matches at the bottom of the order, Montana’s two sophomores came through for the Griz as Ludvig Hallgren bounced back from a first set loss to clinch the match for UM with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Jose Ortega on six.
Korkh then gave UM some breathing room with a three set win over Pablo Guerra on five to make it a 5-2 final score in favor of the Griz.
“It was nice to see the bottom of the lineup come through for us,” Brown added. “I’m super proud of the way those guys have continued to get better every week. We can really count on them.”
Montana’s five-match homestand now takes center stage, as the Griz prepare to defend their home court to earn a place in the Big Sky championship.
The series starts on Thursday, April 12 as the Griz host the league-leading Idaho Vandals in a make-up of the match that was postponed due to poor driving conditions in February.
UM takes on Northern Colorado on April 13, then takes a day off before hosting Portland State on the morning of April 15.
The annual Brawl of the Wild match against Montana State highlights the final weekend of the season for UM on April 20, followed by Eastern Washington to conclude the regular season on April 22.
Montana 5, Southern Utah 2
4/7/2018 at Cedar City, Utah (Thunderbird Tennis Courts)
1. MORALES, Jonathan (SUU) def. SCHMIDL, Yannick (UM) 6-4, 6-4
2. CASADEVALL, Victor (UM) def. TORDOFF, Conor (SUU) 6-2, 6-2
3. TAMAGNONE, Agustin (SUU) def. CANELLOPOULOS, Alex (UM) 7-5, 6-2
4. TEJERINA, Ignacio (UM) def. FEIGIN, Guy (SUU) 6-2, 6-3
5. KORKH, Max (UM) def. GUERRA, Pablo (SUU) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
6. HALLGREN, Ludvig (UM) def. ORTEGA, Jose (SUU) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
1. CASADEVALL, Victor/TEJERINA, Ignacio (UM) def. TORDOFF, Conor/MORALES, Jonathan (SUU) 6-3
2. KORKH, Max/SCHMIDL, Yannick (UM) def. GUERRA, Pablo/FEIGIN, Guy (SUU) 6-4
3. COPE, Remus/TAMAGNONE, Agustin (SUU) def. CANELLOPOULOS, Alex/FISHER, Zach (UM) 6-1
Montana 7-5, 4-2 BSC
Southern Utah 12-7, 2-4 BSC
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,4,1,3,6,5)