The Utah State men’s tennis team is on a mission: win the Mountain West tournament. This Friday in Boise, the team will have another chance to achieve that goal as the Aggies begin the tournament against Boise State.
The MW tournament has not been kind to USU in recent years. The Aggies entered last season also as the one-seed, but fell to Fresno State 4-2 in the first round. The year prior as a two-seed, Utah State succumbed to Nevada, also by a score of 4-2. All told, the Aggies have failed to advance out of the first round of any conference tournament since 2005.
This year provides ample opportunity to not only escape the first round, but to also make a deep run in the tournament while also accruing a measure of revenge in the process.
The Aggies first opponent, Boise State, should be very familiar for the team. USU squared off with the Broncos just last week, winning quite handily, 4-1. The win featured Utah State picking up the doubles point along with singles wins from juniors Jaime Barajas and Kai Wehnelt and freshman Sergiu Bucur. The win also officially clinched the regular season title for the Aggies.
In the second round, Utah State would face the winner of New Mexico and San Diego State. USU took care of business at home against the Aztecs, avenging last year’s only conference loss with a 4-1 win. Against New Mexico, however, the Aggies struggled and ultimately suffered their only home loss of the year, losing 4-3.
The conference championship, should the Aggies advance that far, would pit USU against one of Nevada, UNLV, Fresno State, or Air Force. UNLV and Fresno State are seeded third and second, respectively, and would be favored to advance to the championship. A meeting with UNLV would be a rematch of one of USU’s gutsiest wins of the season, as sophomore Jonas Maier fought off five match points in a three-set comeback victory to secure the road victory for the Aggies. Utah State also defeated Fresno State on the road, winning 4-1 to rebound from their only conference loss of the season.
At stake in the tournament would be an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. A berth this year would be the Aggies’ first in program history. Currently ranked 45th in the country, Utah State would stand a respectable chance of receiving an invitation to the tournament, though the team would understandably wish to not leave such matters to chance.
The MW tournament will begin this Friday in Boise, Idaho, with the Aggies squaring off against Boise State at 6 p.m and will continue through to the championship on Sunday. A live stream will be available via themw.com with live stats available through the Utah State athletic department.