Broncos Claim Fourth Straight MW Title
April 26, 2015
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Fourth verse same as the first. And the second and third.
Boise State men's tennis won the 2015 Mountain West Championship Sunday, for its fourth consecutive title and improved to 11-0 all-time in the league tournament. The fifth-seeded Broncos (15-15) rallied with four wins in singles to defeat Nevada 4-3 in the championship match.
"I feel like we've crawled through the desert, climbed the highest mountain, traversed roaring rivers, been hit by a tsunami and all of a sudden we've reached the top," said head coach Greg Patton. "This was one of our goals and we never wavered from it. The way we did it was constant team building, by getting these guys to play fearlessly and positively. We got them to truly trust each other and know their teammates would come through for them and they really learned to care about the journey."
Brian Foley sealed the victory on court four, defeating Fernando Sunago 7-6 (5) and 6-2. Sunago fought off five championship points in the second set, but Foley finished a 13-shot rally with a backhand to Sunago's feet that could not be returned.
"I have to be the happiest man in the universe," Patton said. "We did it. We really did do it. It means so much because nobody thought we could do it except us. This is our time."
The win earns Boise State an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, it will be the 18th trip in program history and the 10th in the last 11 years. The field will be announced Tuesday, April 28, at 3:30 p.m. MT, in a live stream at NCAA.com.
"This is so incredibly special," said Patton. "This is one of the legacies of our program. We go to the NCAA Tournament and we win conference titles. I have to hand it to these guys. They didn't ride the highway to this championship. They had to take the back roads."
Boise State dropped the doubles point, but quickly rattled off the first three singles points to get within a match of a title. The Wolf Pack (9-16) fought back, winning on courts one and two to tie the team score before Foley's heroics on court four.
Garrett Patton and Toby Mitchell teamed for a win at No. 2 doubles, but Nevada took the next two courts and claimed the point. The Broncos also lost the doubles competition against New Mexico in the semifinals before storming back for the victory.
Abe Hewko, who clinched the win against the Lobos, kicked off singles with a 6-2, 6-2 victory on court six. Moments later Toby Mitchell put the finishing touches on a 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 3 singles to give the Broncos the lead. Lewis Roskilly followed suit with a 6-4, 6-2 decision on court five.
That put Boise State on top 3-1, but the Wolf Pack would not go away quietly. Nevada took the first set on the top two courts, but Foley was able to take his first set in a tiebreaker to give the Broncos the edge headed to the second sets.
"All of a sudden the opportunity was going to start knocking," said Greg Patton. "It was going to be at the doorstep. We just had to make sure there was someone ready to answer the door. That was Brian."
As the attention shifted to Foley, he had built on the first-set tiebreak win and taken a 3-1 lead early in the second set. It quickly became a 5-1 advantage and he was ahead 40-15 looking to break Sunago's serve and take the match. Instead, Sunago won the next three points and forced Foley to serve for the match.
The junior was up to the task, racing out to a 40-0 lead. Sunago fought off the first two championship points but Foley and the Broncos would not be denied.
"Brian's first set tiebreaker was critical," said Greg Patton. "He knew what the score was and that we were fighting for our lives. Sometimes when he gets in a spot like that he cares so much that he can get tight. Instead, he came out in that tiebreak and played some of the best tennis of his life. Brian went to that place in his life and his game where he had extreme confidence and wasn't afraid."
The trio of Foley, Roskilly and Hewko combined to go 7-0 at the tournament as they anchored the bottom half of Boise State's singles lineup. The group dropped just one set on the week.
Boise State is the first school in conference history to win four MW men's tennis titles and has done so in just four seasons as a member of the league.
No. 5 Boise State vs No. 7 Nevada
Apr 26, 2015 | Albuquerque, N.M. (Linda Estes Indoor Tennis Center)
Boise State def. Nevada 4-3
Order of finish: 6,3,5,2,1,4
Order of finish: 2,3,1
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