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Montana men's tennis team claims two titles at Utah Invite

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The Montana men's tennis team claimed a pair of singles titles and finished strong with a doubles win over the host Utah Utes on Day Four at the Utah Invitational in Salt Lake City over the weekend.

In the round-robin tourney, the Grizzlies bounced back from a Day Two slump to go 15-3 over the final two days, with senior Ed Pudney winning the championship on singles court two and sophomore Moritz Stoeger winning singles court five.

Montana started the tournament on Thursday with some convincing results, taking a 2-1 doubles win over Utah State and a 5-1 win over Weber State in singles. Day Two, however, saw the Griz lose momentum with losses to conference rivals.

After a motivational regroup on Friday, the Griz powered through the final two days to come home with a pair of awards.

"I had been fairly disappointed with our fall results up until the final two days here in Utah, but we finally showed our true potential as a team," UM coach Jason Brown said.

"We saw a lot of growth this weekend. Going 15-3 over the final two days is above our already very high expectations. To beat a Pac-12 team in doubles and a Mountain West team on the same day is just fantastic."

Early on Day One, Oisin Shaffrey and Pudney combined to win a 6-4 win over Utah State's Cierny/Zarkovic pair, and Milo Benn and Stoeger clinched the victory over the Aggies with a 6-4 victory over USU's Ruiz/Savin duo, giving UM early momentum.

The day finished with singles against Weber State, and the Griz had the Wildcat's number. Pudney, Lawrence Sciglitano, Gustav Theilgaard, Stoeger, and Benn each picked up wins, with Sciglitano, Theilgaard, and Benn each winning in straight sets. The wins combined gave UM a convincing 5-1 team win over WSU.

The icing on the cake came later in the day when Pudney and Stoeger beat their Utah opponents.

Day Two was different. Montana started well with doubles wins from Shaffrey and Pudney, and Sciglitano and Theilgaard to beat Weber State once again, but losses to Montana State and Idaho State ended the day on a down note.

"We hit a little rough patch, maybe not matching some of the energy that was brought in from other teams. But we had a big team meeting and the guys really responded," added Brown.

The Griz rebounded Saturday with a sweep of Idaho State in doubles and a 4-2 win over the Bobcats.

Montana then started Sunday with a doubles win over Utah thanks to a 6-1 win from Shaffrey and Pudney, and a 6-4 win from Benn and Stoeger. It capped the weekend with a convincing 6-0 defeat of Utah State, with Benn clinching in the third set to seal the shutout.

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