Tennis moves on to BSU Fall Classic – Competitive field poses challenge for Idaho in the team’s fourth fall tournament
Vandals are always looking for a chance to beat some Broncos, and the Idaho men’s tennis team may get that opportunity this weekend at the Boise State Fall Classic.
It’s not just Idaho and BSU at the tournament, though, and there is a chance that a Vandal never meets a Bronco in tournament play, still there will be no lack of solid competition.
“There’s really strong teams sending players, so I think it will be a really good gauge of where we’re at, because all the strongest teams in this region of the country will probably have players there,” Idaho Director of Tennis Jeff Beaman said.
For a few Idaho players, this will be their first experience at BSU but senior Abid Akbar has played this tournament before.
“It has always been a tough tournament as Boise State has a solid tennis program and a great facility, so a lot of good schools want to play it,” Akbar said.
The tournament in Boise gives the Vandals even a little more drive.
“At practice and while playing there — it really changes the scenario and the mindset going into the tournament,” Akbar said.
Even though the Vandals may not be very welcome in Bronco territory, Beaman says they get a lot of support at the event each year.
“We have a lot of alumni there that come out and support us, so it’s like a rivalry with kind of a home crowd so it’s a unique situation,” Beaman said.
The Vandals currently have a a couple of players fighting off the flu, but Beaman is optimistic that the bug won’t keep them down. They have plenty of momentum coming in.
“We have some good competition under our belt and have been getting good practice, and its good weather so it should be a good event,” Beaman said.
Akbar said the team will miss Cristobal Ramos Salazar and Marius Cirstea, who are not playing in the tournament. He believes Matt Oddonetto will be a great addition to the lineup this year.
Oddonetto, a Boise native, is coming off a first-place finish at the Eastern Washington University Invitational. Akbar is playing doubles with Oddonetto this weekend in Boise.
“He is full of confidence and playing well and he will be playing in his home town, which always helps,” Akbar said
The Vandal/Bronco rivalry will be evident with both teams are coming in with some good wins behind them. Idaho had a singles flight win and a doubles flight win in Eastern Washington and some great early round victories at the prestigious Baylor Invitational. Boise State has a player coming off a noteworthy performance at the ITA All-American Championships which is sure to build momentum for the team.
Match play at the Fall Classic will continue through Sunday. This is the last competition for the men until Oct. 17, when they head to the ITA Mountain Regional Championships in Las Vegas.
Charles Crowley can be reached at email@example.com