Montana's men's tennis team left nothing to chance against a surging Portland State squad on Sunday, dominating the Vikings 7-0 in UM's third match of the week at the Peak Racquet Club.
The win puts the Griz at 7-2 in Big Sky play (10-5 overall) and earns them a place in the conference championship tournament for a record 28th-straight year with two matches still to play in the regular season.
With a spot in the conference tourney locked down, and the senior-laden team playing some of its best tennis of the season, the Griz are peaking at just the right time.
"I thought this was going to be the toughest match of the weekend. I didn't like some of the matchups, and I thought they were going to play us tougher than Idaho across the board," said interim head coach Jason Brown. "What more can you ask for from these guys? They stepped up. It was unbelievable."
Senior Yannick Schmidl clinched the match for the Griz with a massive straight-set win on court one over former Big Sky MVP and two-time first team all-conference player Nathan Boniel to keep Montana undefeated at home this season.
"I used the home court advantage, and he struggled a little bit in the beginning, so I was able to go up 5-0 right away," said Schmidl. "He really stepped it up in the second set, but I was able to play better as well and pull it out."
Schmidl's win marks the first time a Grizzly has beaten Boniel in a singles match in his decorated three-year career at PSU.
The Grizzlies now turn their attention to the final weekend of regular-season play at home this week, hosting Montana State on Friday at 2 p.m. and capping the year against Eastern Washington on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Both matches are scheduled to be played outdoors at the Lindsay Tennis Center, weather permitting.
fall to Eagles
The Montana women closed out their season with a 5-2 loss to Eastern Washington Sunday morning at the Peak.
Montana won the doubles point and its other win came from Catherine Orfanos, who downed Faye Worrall 6-4, 6-4 in the No. 5 position.
The Griz closed the year at 4-7 in league matches, 8-15 overall.