BOISE, Idaho - The No. 50 ranked Boise State men's tennis team will conclude its 2011 regular season schedule on the road this weekend (April 22-24) with a trip to Las Cruces, N.M. to face a pair of Western Athletic Conference teams as well as one non-conference opponent in a trio of matches that could have big post season implications.
The Broncos (14-12 overall, 2-2 WAC) will wrap up their regular season conference schedule on Friday (April 22) with duals against Nevada and No. 73 New Mexico State. Boise State will face the Wolf Pack at 8:30 a.m. before taking on the Aggies at 1:30 p.m.
On Sunday (April 24) the Broncos are then set to meet No. 61 Arizona at 9 a.m. in their regular season finale, which will conclude the final weekend before Boise State hosts the conference tournament April 29 - May 1.
Last time out...
The Broncos are coming off a challenging road trip to California in which they finished 1-2 with a pair of losses against nationally ranked opponents. Boise State fell to 7-11 against top-75 teams this season with a 6-1 loss to No. 8 Stanford and a 5-2 loss to No. 39 Fresno State. The Broncos did manage to salvage some of the weekend on Sunday (April 17) with a 5-2 win over Hawai'i to move to 2-2 overall in conference play.
Boise State struggled to get much going in singles competition through its first two duals of the road swing, winning just one match in each dual against Stanford and Fresno State. Nathan Sereke won at No. 5 singles against the Cardinal to score the Broncos' lone point, while Andy Bettles was victorious at No. 3 against the Bulldogs to narrow the final team score to 5-2.
The highlight of the first two matches came during Boise State's sweep of doubles competition against Fresno State however, as Damian Hume and Scott Sears scored a major upset over Rikus de Villiers and Remi Boutillier at No. 1. Hume and Sears, who were ranked No. 82 nationally, raced to an 8-3 victory over No. 17 de Villiers and Boutillier to secure their biggest win of the season.
The Broncos finally managed to put a complete dual together against Hawai'i on Sunday with a sweep of the doubles matches before scoring four singles wins to clinch the team victory. Jeff Mullen, Bettles, Sears and Sereke all won in singles to push the final team score to 5-2.
Despite going just 1-2 on its last road trip Boise State moved up two spots to No. 50 in this week's ITA national team rankings. The Broncos returned to the top 50 after spending the last two weeks at No. 51 and No. 52.
Individually, Hume and Sears made a huge leap in the national doubles rankings moving from No. 82 to No. 36 in one week. This marks the highest national ranking in singles or doubles for Boise State this season, and the highest for both Hume and Sears in their careers.
Hume did fall from the ITA singles rankings this week, though, dropping out from No. 120 last week. Hume has been ranked in five of the seven singles polls this spring and reached as high as No. 62 on Jan. 4.
This weekend will have plenty of WAC tournament implications for the Broncos as Boise State looks to keep pace with Idaho for a chance at a first-round bye in the conference championships. Fresno State has secured the No. 1 overall seed with a 6-0 record heading into the final weekend. Idaho currently sits in second at 3-1, while Boise State is third at 2-2. Idaho will also face New Mexico State and Nevada over the weekend.
Utah State and Hawai'i are tied for fourth with 2-4 records, while New Mexico State is sixth at 1-2 and Nevada is seventh at 0-3.
With only six of the seven teams qualifying for the WAC tournament, the top two seeds receive an automatic bye into the semifinal round.
Looking at the Wolf Pack...
Nevada heads into this weekend still searching for its first win in WAC competition as the Wolf Pack have struggled to a 0-3 record against conference opponents, and are just 5-11 overall this spring. Nevada has suffered losses to Hawai'i, 6-1, Fresno State, 4-0, and Utah State, 2-5.
The Wolf Pack have found some success in the month of April, playing to a 2-3 record over the past three weeks. Nevada has struggled in matches away from home all season however, going just 3-10 in road and neutral duals.
The Wolf Pack currently does not have any players ranked nationally in singles or doubles.
Looking at the Aggies...
New Mexico State enters the weekend ranked No. 73 in the ITA national team rankings after compiling a 10-7 overall record and a 1-2 record against WAC opponents. The Aggies lone conference win came over Hawai'i, 4-2. New Mexico State suffered its conference losses to Fresno State, 5-1, and Utah State, 4-3.
The Aggies have played just four home duals so far this season, but do boast a 3-1 record in those matches. New Mexico State will host Western New Mexico on Tuesday (April 19) and Idaho on Thursday (April 21) before facing the Broncos.
Arthur Surreaux leads the way for the Aggies with a No. 73 national ranking in singles. He and doubles partner Jim Brouleau are also currently ranked No. 75 nationally by the ITA.
Looking at the Wildcats...
Arizona heads to Las Cruces, N.M. looking to end an eight dual losing streak that has caused the Wildcats to drop to 8-13 overall this season and 0-6 in Pac-10 Conference action. Arizona continues to remain ranked in the top 75, though, coming in at No. 61 this week. The Wildcats are set to meet Idaho on Friday at 2 p.m. before taking on Boise State, Sunday.
Arizona beat the Broncos once already this season in a consolation showdown at the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic on Feb. 26. The Wildcats rallied after losing the doubles point with wins at No. 2, No. 3, No. 5 and No. 6 singles to clinch the 4-2 victory.
Andres Carrasco is currently the only Arizona player ranked nationally in singles or doubles, as he is No. 94 in the April 19 singles rankings.