| 03.24.2018

Idaho clinches tournament berth


Idaho goes 2-0 on senior day, secures spot in Big Sky Tournament

The weekend couldn’t have gone much better than it did for the Idaho men’s tennis team.

The Vandals beat both North Dakota and Montana, celebrated Senior Day and clinched a spot in the Big Sky Tournament.

“It was great to get two wins on Senior Day and lock in our conference tournament spot,” Idaho coach Jeff Beaman said.

Three Vandals were honored Saturday before the second match against North Dakota. Cristobal Ramos Salazar played his last home matches after a four-year career from Hermosillo, Mexico. Ramos Salazar was a first-team All-WAC selection in doubles and second-team All-WAC in singles last season and came to Idaho after being ranked as the No. 1 junior tennis player in Mexico.

Alberto Sanz, a transfer from Lewis-Clark State College, was also honored. The Oviedo, Spain, native played one year at Idaho.

Sam Jankovich, a transfer from Spokane Community College, was also honored on Senior Day.

“Cris Ramos has been a big part of this program for four years,” Beaman said. “Alberto and Sam were great additions for this semester and I wish they had more time with the program.”

The first match against Montana (8-8, 7-3 Big Sky) was a key win as both the Grizzlies and Vandals were tied for third in the Big Sky. Idaho (14-8, 8-2) won three of the top four singles matches.

Junior Odon Barta defeated Tomasz Soltyka in the No. 1 singles match, while Ramos Salazar took the No. 3 match and freshman Mark Kovacs took the No. 4 match.

Montana took the No. 1 doubles match, as Ramos Salazar and Kovacs couldn’t hang on for the win. Luckily for Idaho, Barta and freshman Felipe Fonseca won the No. 2 match and junior Jackson Varney and Sanz won the No. 3 match. Altogether, it was enough to give the Vandals the crucial 4-3 victory.

After the win over Montana, Idaho had a tune-up match against lowly North Dakota (6-12, 1-10).

The Vandals dominated both singles and doubles, as Barta, Fonseca, Ramos Salazar Kovacs and Varney all won their singles matches. Sanz was the only Idaho player to lose, as he narrowly fell in the No. 6 singles match to Simon Danyluk.

Doubles matches ended in a 3-0 Vandal sweep to secure the convincing 6-1 Idaho victory.

The wins put Idaho tied with Montana State for second in the Big Sky and clinched a Big Sky Tournament berth later this month.

Since the Vandals beat Montana State March 14, they own the tiebreaker if the two teams finish the season with the same record. Weber State still sits a half game up on both teams in first place.

Next up for Idaho is a quick trip to Cheney, Washington, for the Big Sky finale against Eastern Washington (6-14, 4-6). The Eagles are in eighth place in the Big Sky.

“Looking towards our Eastern Washington match, we need to pick up our level in doubles and mental approach during matches,” Beaman said.

Ben Evensen can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @BenE_VN

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