13 Dec 2021 | 10:03 | Tennis
Montana tennis ace Julia Ronney has been named the Big Sky Player of the Week for a second time this season following another weekend of impressive results at the top of the Grizzly lineup, the league announced Tuesday.
Ronney went undefeated in singles during UM’s two-match trip to Oregon with a pair of straight-set wins on court one over opponents from the West Coast Conference’s University of Portland and Portland State.
The San Diego native is now the first player in the league to earn two Player of the Week honors this season after receiving it on Feb. 23 following a win over Gonzaga’s No. 1, and she’s now received the accolade three times in her career.
Over the weekend, the Grizzly senior became the first player from the Big Sky Conference this season to defeat Portland No. 1 Iva Zelic, the former top-ranked junior in Croatia. Ronney defeated Zelic in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, helping Montana to a 5-2 upset win over the Pilots.
Against Portland State, Ronney dropped just three games in a dominant 6-2, 6-1 win over PSU’s Lotti Meszaros, helping lead a Grizzly comeback attempt against the Vikings.
Now a winner of five-straight singles matches, Ronney is off to the best start of her career, sitting at 6-2 overall and a 2-0 in Big Sky singles play on court one this season.
With just four regular-season matches left to play, she’s now on track to post Montana’s best winning percentage since Sasha Carter went 17-5 overall and 11-0 in Big Sky play in 2015.
“Her consistency has been impressive. Obviously, the win over Gonzaga was good, but she’s just continued to lay the groundwork, and beating the player at Portland in straight sets showed it. A decisive win like that shows that when she’s had opportunities, she settles in and drives it home,” said head coach Steve Ascher.
“Her focus has improved, so she’s controlling matches. She’s been really good at recognizing strategy, recognizing what’s going on in the match and what she needs to do, and adapting during matches as well. That’s been big.”
Montana now prepares to compete at home for just the third time this season when the Grizzlies host Weber State in a non-conference match on March 27. UM will then travel to Bozeman on April 4 for one last non-conference tune-up before finishing the regular season with two must-win matches league matches against Idaho and Eastern Washington.
The Griz, now 1-1 in Big Sky play, will likely need to sweep the Vandals and Eagles to clinch a place in the conference championship tournament scheduled for May 1 and 2 in Phoenix.
Other Nominees: Tsveti Yotova, Sacramento State; Gina Dittmann, Northern Arizona; Laura Mary, Montana State; Capu Sanoner, Portland State
Previous Big Sky Women’s Tennis Players of the Week
Mar. 16 – Julia Ronney, Montana
Mar. 9 – Jayden Nielsen, Sacramento State
Mar. 2 – Makoto Ohara, Portland State
Feb. 23 – Julia Ronney, Montana
Feb. 16 – Gina Dittmann, Northern Arizona
Feb. 9 – Yuuna Ukita, Weber State
Feb. 2 – Hana Cho, Idaho State
Jan. 26 – Ellie Millard, Northern Arizona
Jan. 19 – Renata Gabuzyan, Eastern Washington