13 Dec 2021 | 09:31 | Tennis
The Montana men’s tennis team finished its opening weekend of Big Sky Conference play with a decisive 6-1 victory over Portland State to sweep the two-match homestand at the Peak Racquet Club on Sunday.
The Griz rebounded from a loss in doubles on Saturday to claim the point against the Vikings, then carried the momentum into the singles round with straight-sets wins on courts two through six.
The win over PSU – who beat the Grizzlies in the conference tournament quarterfinal last season – improves Montana’s record to 8-3 overall, 2-0 in Big Sky play, and keeps it undefeated at home at 4-0. The Griz opened their conference slate with a 5-2 win over Northern Colorado on Saturday.
“Really happy with the guys’ effort today. We stepped up intensity as the weekend went on and improved from day to day. It’s great to be 2-0 in the conference. Those are crucial wins at home, too,” said head coach Jason Brown.
“I thought Ed (Pudney) played especially well, winning in doubles with Cam (Isbell) and clinching the match for us with a hard-fought win in singles.”
Sophomore Oisin Shaffrey continued his dominant run for the Grizzlies, improving to 9-2 in singles and 8-1 in doubles play this season. The Irishman breezed past PSU’s Nikola Dimitrijevic 6-3, 6-2, for his ninth-consecutive win and his seventh-consecutive win in straight sets. He’s also now won seven-straight doubles matches and three-straight with his partner Pontus Hallgren.
In doubles, Ed Pudney and his partner Cameron Isbell picked up a comfortable 6-2 win to open the scoring for the Griz, with Shaffrey and Hallgren clinching the point on court three soon after with a 6-3 win to put UM out to a 1-0 lead. The point was the ninth for the Griz in ten-straight matches, continuing their stellar form in the round.
Shaffrey then improved UM to 2-0 on the day with his win over Dimitrijevic on court three, followed by senior Max Korkh taking a straight-sets victory on court two over PSU’s Tommy Edwards, 6-4, 6-4, that extended the Griz lead to 3-0.
Playing in just his third match this season on court one, senior Ludvig Hallgren bounced back from a 5-7 loss to PSU’s Matteo Fortini to take the second set 6-4, falling 6-1 to give the Vikings their only win of the afternoon.
Pudney then clinched the overall victory for the Grizzlies with a straight-set win on court four that ended in a tiebreaker over the Vikings’ Sam Roberts 6-3, 7-6 (1). Pontus Hallgren and Milo Benn finished out the scoring for the Grizzlies, picking up wins on courts five and six, respectively.
The Griz now turn their attention to Montana State for the annual Brawl of the Wild match on UM’s home courts a the Peak Racquet Club on Sunday, March 15.