Bobcat tennis bounces back

After tough home losses against Utah State last weekend, the Montana State Bobcats looked to rebound this weekend, and they were successful. The men played at home facing Idaho State and the women headed down to Colorado to face the University of Northern Colorado, Air Force Academy and a rematch with Seattle University. The men began early in their 10 a.m. match on Feb. 27, winning all three of the doubles matches to earn the doubles point. Their success carried over to singles play: MSU won five of the six matches, and won three of those in just two sets. Bobcat freshman Andre Napoliatano won in three sets at the No. 1 spot, and junior Harry James and senior Javier Martin-Morillas both won their team-leading sixth matches of the young season. The men improved to 5-4 overall and 3-0 in conference play. Next weekend, the men will head to Grand Forks to take on the University of North Dakota.

The women, on the other hand, hit the road for a challenging stretch of three matches in just two days. The trip was daunting, but the Bobcats were bolstered by the addition of the now-eligible Holopainen twins. The Cats faced off against the UNC Bears first on Friday, battling to a 5-2 win. Despite getting off on the wrong foot and losing the doubles point, MSU reassembled and won each match at the top four spots and five out of the six total. Wins came from sophomores Laura Middel, Wanda Holopainen and Jess Brycki, freshman Angelina Philippova and senior Liana Bates.

After the duel with the Bears, the women hit road again, heading two hours south to Colorado Springs to face Air Force late Friday and Seattle University the next morning. In the late night face off with the Falcons, the Bobcats were unable to rally and fell 5-2, with wins coming from Middel and sophomore Naomi Holopainen. With the end of the trip in sight, the Bobcats battled the familiar faces of Seattle University, to whom they lost 5-2 earlier in the season. That was not the case this time around with the Bobcats clinching the hard fought 4-3 victory. MSU captured the doubles point, winning the last two doubles matches and then earned three singles wins including a come from behind 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 victory by Brycki and straight sets wins from Naomi Holopainen and sophomore Molly Crum.

The women improved to 7-6 on the year and 1-1 in the Big Sky Conference. They will head to the North Dakota-Minnesota border to face Minnesota State University-Moorhead and University of North Dakota next weekend, March 6-7.