Boise State lost the doubles point, then proceeded to win four of five singles matches to defeat #1-seed New Mexico 4-2 this afternoon in Albuquerque. The Broncos advanced to the Mountain West Championship game tomorrow against upstart Nevada.
The home team won a relatively easy doubles point, with Shunji Hirooka and Augustus Ge pounding Garrett Patton and Toby Mitchell 6-0 on the second court and Mitch McDaniels and Samir Iftikhar putting away Brian Foley and Abe Hewko 7-5. Lewis Roskilly and Thomas Tenreiro upset the #60 doubles team in the nation, Hayder Sabatka and Bart Van Leijsen 6-4 in the other match.
Coach Patton knows that the doubles point is important, but he met with his team and told them "Let's fight hard and show everyone what the Blue and Orange is all about, by playing hard."
Garrett Patton took that advice to heart, taking a 6-3 win in the opening set of his match at #1 singles. Roskilly followed suit with a 6-1 win his first set. Tenreiro lost his set 6-3, and Hewko fell 6-4, but Foley prevailed in his opening set 6-3. When Mitchell won his first set 6-4, it meant four of the six Broncos captured opening sets. Four Broncos would have to win their singles matches for Boise State to defeat the Lobos.
Patton disposed of Sabatka 6-3, 6-2 to tie the match. The tide was beginning to swing Boise State's way. Hewko responded by evening his match with a 6-2 win in the second set. Foley followed with a 6-3, 6-2 win at #4 singles, and Roskilly made it 3-1 Boise State with an impressive 6-1, 6-3 victory at #5 singles. Mitchell had a great chance to win his match, but fell in the second set 6-4. Tenreiro battled hard in the second set, but lost 3-6, 5-7. It was now 3-2 Boise State. That made the other Broncos step up, as the Lobos grabbed the momentum briefly in the ever-changing ebb and flow of college tennis.
Attention of the 500-plus spectators focused on the two remaining courts. Mitchell and McDaniels were locked in a 3-3 dual in the third and final set. Hewko grabbed a 4-3 lead in the final set of his match with Rodolpho Juaregui. Juaregui was set to serve, but Hewko broke service and took a 5-3 lead.
With all the pressure on him, and the Lobo fans responding loudly to any glimpse of hope, Hewko served for the set and the match. He got down early 15-30, then uncorked two killer aces. Then, when the game went to add-in point, unleashed another laser that set him up for the winner.
Boise State will meet Nevada tomorrow in the championship match. Action gets underway at 11 a.m. Mountain Time. You can follow the action with a live stream on www.themwc.com.