Bronco Men's Tennis to Host Mountain Regional Playoff

BOISE, Idaho The No. 22 ranked Boise State’s men’s tennis team is set to kick-off their 2008 spring season this weekend with a pair of duals on Thursday. The Broncos also play host to the 2008 Mountain Regional Playoffs on Saturday, a highly competitive qualifier for the 2008 National Team Indoor Championships.

On Thursday, January 17, the Broncos host Montana State University and Utah State in separate duals at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. The duals will help the Broncos return to their competition mode after a two-month hiatus from matches, as well as prep for the Mountain Regional Playoffs.

The Broncos’ enter the Mountain Regional Playoffs on Saturday, January 19, as the top seed, hosting No. 2 seed New Mexico, No. 3 seed University of Utah, and No. 4 seed University of Nevada Las Vegas. All four teams rank within the nation’s top-100 teams, with BSU (22nd) leading the way, followed by UNM (54th), Utah (67th), and UNLV (70th).

“I feel like an expectant mother who has been waiting so long for this exciting moment,” said head coach Greg Patton of the Mountain Regional Playoff. “I am so excited to see what this team is made of.”

For the first time, the Broncos enter the season ranked higher than what they finished the prior season. BSU finished the 2007 season ranked 24th and enter this years’ poll at No. 22, a good sign of things to come. The improvement in ranking may prove that 2008 is the year for the Broncos to reach their goal of being a major national contender.

The Mountain Regional Playoffs will be the Broncos’ first step towards that goal. If the Broncos can win the regional playoffs, they will qualify to play in the National Team Indoor Championships, a meet nearly as important as the NCAA National Championships.

“The National Team Indoor Championships is a very important meet to get into,” explained Patton. “We would be playing against the top teams in the country and if we play well there we could become a legitimate national contender ourselves. Basically the team indoor championships would put is in the hunt for a national ranking. The magnitude of the tournament is huge!”

The Broncos, who have been holding two-a-day practices in preparation for the playoff, have been building this 2008 squad for nearly six years, knowing that their hard work in past seasons would payoff with a chance to become a national contender. The Broncos currently have six seniors as well as five juniors and two talented transfers, proving to be a much experienced team. Four Broncos sit in the top-100 individual rankings, including: junior Clancy Shields (19th), and seniors Luke Shields (47th), Eric Roberson (65th), and Brent Werbeck (69th). Transfers Kean Feeder (junior, Cascade College) and Paul Koenke (junior, Clemson) will add to the talented group of Bronco returnees this spring.

“Our team is so talented,” said Patton. “We are returning everyone from last year and adding some excellent transfers. It’s like saying every starter on the football team is returning and we are adding great recruits on top of it!”

The Broncos host the Mountain Regional Playoff on Saturday, with BSU facing UNLV in the first match at 9 a.m. New Mexico and Utah will battle in a 12 noon match, with the winners of each semifinal match qualifying for the Mountain Regional Final at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The playoff will be the final home matches for the Broncos until March 1 when they host Minnesota. In their six week span of away competition, the Broncos will face top teams such as Texas A&M, BYU, UCLA, USC and Stanford.

“This is a great chance for people to come out and see us before we go out to battle for six week of tough competition,” said Patton.

Admission to both the Thursday duals against Montana State and Utah State, as well as the Mountain Regional Playoffs will be free of charge and will be held at Boise State’s Boas Tennis Center.

Weekend Calendar (all matches are at BSU’s Boas Tennis Center):

Thursday, January 17

Boise State vs. Montana State 10 a.m.

Boise State vs. Utah State 6 p.m.

Saturday, January 19 (Mountain Regional Playoffs)

Boise State vs. UNLV 9 a.m. (semifinal)

New Mexico vs. Utah 12 noon (semifinal)

Finals (winners of each semifinal match) 6 p.m.

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