Before nabbing Big Sky Conference Player of the Week honors on March 31, sophomore Andre Napoliatano led his Bobcat team to a couple of crucial conference wins this weekend, March 28-29, at home in the Bobcat-Anderson Tennis Center. The Brazilian native won both his No. 1 singles matches and doubles matches this weekend, and raised his overall record to 10-6 on the season. The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks and the Sacramento State Hornets came to town, with the three teams jockeying for position in the upcoming Big Sky Conference tournament. After a hot start to the 2015 campaign, the MSU men have cooled down in the past couple weeks, due in part to junior Harry James’ ankle injury.
However, this weekend, the Bobcats put that aside and went to protect their own court and their 6-2 conference record. Facing off against the perennially talented Hornets on Saturday morning, the Bobcats had their work cut out for them, but the resilient MSU squad did not back down. In the end, senior Javier Martin Morillas grabbed the three set win and the Bobcats’ fourth point to clinch the hard earned win.
The next morning, the Cats had to bounce right back and reload to take on the Lumberjacks. The Bobcats, looking fresh despite the previous day’s challenges, sprinted out to a 5-2 victory for the weekend sweep. The clincher this time came from senior Niklas Brandes playing at the No. 3 singles position.
The Bobcats clinched a spot in the Big Sky Tennis Tournament, beginning April 24 in Sacramento, with the two wins.
The Montana State women, on the other hand, headed down to sunny California for a quick road trip matchup on March 28, with UC Davis and Sacramento State. The road trip kicked off the toughest stretch of the season for the women, with eight matches in just three weeks.
Saturday morning the Cats faced UC Davis in nonconference play. Despite effort from across the board, Montana State simply couldn’t keep up and lost the match 1-6, with the lone win coming from sophomore Laura Middel. Later that evening, the ladies took on the Sac State Hornets, who are currently ranked 73rd in the nation. The Bobcats battled but couldn’t grab the victory and fell 3-4 in the conference matchup. The ladies earned the doubles point and got wins from sophomores Jess Brycki and Naomi Holopainen.
Next weekend, the women will return home to take on the University of Montana Grizzlies on Saturday, April 4, at 10 a.m. in the Bobcat-Anderson Tennis Center.