Perfect: Griz finish 8-0 Big Sky season with 5-2 win over MSU
April 15, 2012
The Grizzly men's tennis team defeated Montana State 5-2 Sunday afternoon at the Peak Racquet Club to complete a perfect 8-0 conference season and extend their winning streak to 10.
The Griz also clinched the outright Big Sky title in advance of the Big Sky Championship Saturday at the Gold River Racquet Club in Gold River, Calif.
The Grizzlies (15-4, 8-0 BSC) defeated Montana State (7-13, 2-0 BSC) earlier in the season in a tight 4-3 match in Bozeman and coach Kris Nord wouldn't let his players look past the Bobcats.
"I was extremely worried this could have been a trap match game for us," Nord said. "It was a rivalry matchup, MSU had a rest day and the pressure was on us to finish off our season undefeated."
The match started with a tight doubles competition.
Carl Kuschke and Ben DeMarois lost the No. 3 doubles match 8-6 but Michael Facey and Ethan Vaughn won the No. 2 match easily. It came down to a hotly contested match at No. 1 and Mikolaj Caruk and Andrew Warren came through with the 8-6 win.
"Doubles was enormous," Nord said. "We nearly lost the point but again No. 1 and No. 2 pulled out tough wins, it was huge for us."
Warren got a quick 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 3 singles to push the Griz lead to 2-0. Facey followed up with a 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 4
The Griz were up 3-0 with four matches to play but the match was far from over, MSU's Nikolas Brandes defeated Kuschke 7-6, 6-1 to cut the lead to 3-1 with three matches to play.
Vaughn took the drama out of the room with a 7-5, 6-3 win.
"I didn't feel comfortable until Vaughn pulled out the win," Nord said. "We could have easily lost a couple of the other matches and come out with a 4-3 loss very easily."
Caruk got a three-set win at No. 2 but Andreas Luczak lost at No. 6 to give MSU their second point.
Nord noted that the historic success this season was due in-large part to the seniors who were honored this afternoon.
"The seniors set the tone for the success we has this season," Nord said. "To finish 8-0 in conference and 15-4 overall is a feather in their cap and I am proud of them."
The Grizzlies will face Weber State in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Championship at 3 p.m. mtn. Saturday afternoon.
Although the Griz finished the season 8-0 in conference the four remaining teams are strong and there will not be an easy match.
"I'm going to try to impress upon the guys that this is a brand new season because essentially that is what it will be," Nord said. "There are four strong teams left and every one of them has a shot."
Nord and the Griz hope to continue their historic run this weekend and do something that hasn't been done before, win a tournament championship.
"I am real proud of our guys and I hope we can put a good cap on our season by playing well in Sacramento," Nord said.
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