(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)
After a weekend sweep of higher-rated opponents, Montana junior netter Ed Pudney has been named the Big Sky Conference Men's Tennis Player of the Week, the league announced Tuesday.
Pudney went 2-0 in singles play during Montana's season-opening trip to Idaho, helping lead the Griz to a split against Boise State and Grand Canyon. He picked up Montana's only win against the Broncos in a 6-1 team loss and led from court one in UM's 6-1 win over the Antelopes.
In both matches, Pudney upset a pair of players with higher Universal Tennis Ratings (UTRs). Against Boise State, he claimed a come-from-behind 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (6) win on court two over Luka Soskic, who carried a UTR as high as 12.9 in February.
Against Grand Canyon, he moved up to court one, defeating Valentin Lang in straight sets 6-2, 7-5, with Lang, a former WAC Player of the Month, entering the match holding a 12.31 UTR. Pudney started the week with a UTR of 12.02, which is expected to climb after the sweep.
"I think this is the start of great things for Ed this season. His outstanding work ethic and commitment to tennis this fall got rewarded immediately, and I couldn't be happier for him. This honor is well-deserved, and I promise it's just the beginning of his accolades," said head coach Jason Brown.
This is the first Player of the Week honor for Pudney and just the third for the Grizzlies in the last two seasons.
Now 1-1 on the season, Montana was selected to win the Big Sky Conference in the league's preseason poll earlier this month. The Griz are coming off an 8-3 season in 2020 that was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. UM finished that schedule riding a seven-match win streak that included a 2-0 start to conference play and an upset over Nevada.
The Grizzlies travel to Las Vegas this coming weekend for a trio of matches, starting with a nonconference tussle against Weber State, followed by New Mexico State in a Friday doubleheader. UM will then face UNLV Saturday morning.