In approximately two weeks, the Vandal men’s tennis team will travel to Las Vegas to play in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional Championships, a tournament with one main draw of 128 athletes, comparable in size to a professional Grand Slam tournament. Idaho travels to Boise State for the Dar Walters Tennis Classic, which takes place Friday through Sunday at the Appleton Tennis Center, Julia Davis Park and Timberline High School.
Idaho coach Jeff Beaman said while the Boise event usually contains a tougher field than some of the tournaments they have played so far, he thinks his team brings a lot of confidence to the courts there.
In addition to Idaho and Boise State, teams from BYU, Eastern Washington, Idaho State, Lewis-Clark State, Montana, Montana State, Portland, Portland State, Utah, Utah State and Weber State are expected to compete in Boise this weekend.
“We had a really good tournament in Cheney,” Beaman said. “The guys played to my expectations, and we won three draws. I think we can build on that in Boise.”
Beaman said the Boise tournament will be good preparation for regionals, a tournament in which the winner will win a trip to the ITA National Indoor Championships in New York, N.Y.
“Because the draw is so big for the regional tournament, play will last from Wednesday through Sunday,” Beaman said. “I think this year we are more of a dark horse in the regionals draw. Last year we had players that were seeded, but I think that some of the guys this year still have a chance to do very well there.”
Sophomore Andrew Zedde, who won his flight in his first college tournament at Idaho, said the EWU Classic was a good experience for him.
“I was glad to make it through some tough conditions on Friday, it was very cold and windy,” Zedde said. “Then we moved inside, went from ten courts to four, which made the days a bit longer. I had two very tough matches in the semis and finals. I had to comeback from a set down in both matches.”
Zedde said he is looking forward to the regional tournament where he will get the chance to test himself against the best players in the region.
Senior Jose Bendeck, who was recently honored as the men’s tennis player of the month in the Western Athletic Conference, mentioned the tough players he faced at the EWU Classic, one of them being his roommate Cristobal Ramos Salazar.
“I played Cristobal in the final, and while it was good to play outside of practice, it was tough to play one of my close friends,” Bendeck said. “After I won the match he joked around with me a little bit, but it was all in good fun.”
Bendeck and Ramos Salazar also teamed up for the doubles in Cheney, and where they won the top doubles flight. Bendeck thinks the confidence the team has from their performance in Cheney will carry into their upcoming matches.
“We did very well, and I think we are all ready for Boise,” Bendeck said.
Andrew Deskins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org