The MSU tennis team took on the rival University of Montana at home on Saturday and came up quite a bit short. In a non-conference match against a conference foe, the Bobcats started strong but the Griz proved to be too tough. After the Grizzlies took the first three doubles matches, the Bobcats were at an early disadvantage but fought back with wins at number one and three singles. But the Griz were the superior team, taking the rest of the matches winning 5-2.
Montana State senior Harry James kept the momentum going after a strong showing in doubles that resulted in the first win for the Bobcats on the day. James defeated Tomasz Soltyka of UM 6-2, 6-4 at number three singles. After James won his match, junior Kellen Bates defeated Peter Mimnagh-Fleming 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 at number one singles. The close match was intense coming down to Bates winning the tiebreaker to finish it off.
MSU Head Coach Jared Burnham remarked, “It was nice to see Kellen play so well,” of his No. 1 singles victory. “He is playing well, he just needs some confidence. This should be a nice shot in the arm for him.” For the rest of the Cats, freshman Alex Flink and sophomore Rok Sitar both fell in straight sets while freshman Mateus Ceolin and sophomore Dylan Harval both were able to win tiebreaker sets before ultimately falling.
The Bobcats will need to spread some of that confidence around moving forward. It’s been a tough season so far for the Bobcats. Their only winning match so far against was against Idaho State 4-3, before that losing five straight matches in which they only had one singles victory. It will be an uphill battle for the Cats as they face conference matches coming up. Saturday, Feb. 27 the Bobcats travel to the 2-7 Sacramento State, whose two wins came against conference opponents North Dakota and Northern Colorado.