Tennis duels in home

The Montana State men’s and women’s tennis teams played their first home tennis matches of the 2015 season over the weekend. The women faced Lewis and Clark College on Friday, Feb. 13 and faced off against Utah State Saturday morning while the men played MSU-Billings Saturday night and Utah State Sunday morning.

The matches were a mixed bag for the Bobcats, with the squads earing 7-0 victories over Lewis and Clark and MSU-Billings, but both fell to Utah State — the women 6-1 and the men 4-3.

The Bobcat women got off to a hot start against Lewis and Clark on Friday, dominating all three doubles matches with scores of 6-2, 6-3 and 6-1. In singles play at the No. 1 spot, sophomore Laura Middel battled to a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 win. Middel’s doubles partner Jess Brycki easily won her match at the No. 2 position in a 6-1, 6-0 routing. The wins kept coming down the table for the Cats as they won all nine matches of the night.

The Bobcat women weren’t quite so fortunate against Utah State (now ranked 69th in the country after the weekend) in a 6-1 loss however. The double matches were tightly contested, with Middel and Brycki narrowly losing 7-6, but earning a win in the third doubles match 7-5 from the team of freshman Angela Philippova and sophomore Shelby Cerkovnik. Singles play did not break the Bobcats way either, the Cats winning just one of the six matches, with the lone win coming from Philippova at No. 3. The women pushed the Aggies to three sets in three of the losses, with Brycki, senior Liana Bates and sophomore Molly Crum narrowly missing out.

“It was nice to see everybody playing so well this weekend,” Brycki commented, “and to see all of our hard work at training pay off when translated into a competitive match scene.”

The story was much the same for the men over the weekend. The Bobcat men dominated MSU-Billings with a 7-0 victory. Capturing all three doubles matches (one by default) as well as each singles match (once again with one by default). The closest match was at singles number one, with freshman Andre Napoliatano edging out his Yellowjacket opponent 7-5, 3-6, 10-4.

Against Utah State, the Bobcats got off to a great start against the Aggies, sweeping the doubles for the first point and earning wins at Nos. 1 and 3 to take a 3-1 lead with three matches to go. The Aggies rallied in the last three matches, winning each of the last matches in just two games apiece. For the Bobcats, wins came from Napoliatano and senior Javier Martin Morillas.

The women head to Colorado next to take on the University of Northern Colorado, Air Force and Seattle University, Feb. 27-28. The men take on Idaho State at home on Feb. 27.