For the third time in four years, the Boise State Broncos are champions of the Western Athletic Conference. In a thrilling third-set tie-breaker, senior Thomas Schoeck downed Fresno State's Sergiu Modoc to give Boise State its second consecutive WAC title and send the crowd at the Appleton Tennis Center into delirium. Coach Greg Patton's Broncos, #29 in the nation, are now 20-6 on the season and received the league's automatic berth in the upcoming NCAA Tennis Championship.
"I didn't want to leave that court," 2006 WAC Men's Tennis Coach of the Year Patton said. "The courage that Thomas displayed today was amazing. It was his going away party, and he sang the greatest song he could sing. I call him ‘The Saint,' and today he was canonized."
Schoeck also teamed with Luke Shields to clinch the doubles point earlier in the afternoon with a 9-7 upset over the #37 doubles team of Modoc and Sam Gibbs. Freshmen Steve Robertson and Clancy Shields downed Charles Irie and Rudolf Siwy 8-2 for the Broncos' other doubles win.
After Piotr Dilaj disposed of Sam Tadevosian in straight sets, the Bulldogs fought back with two wins at #1 and #6 singles. Eric "Robo" Roberson recorded a three-set win at #4 singles to put Boise State within a point of winning the WAC. But Fresno State wasn't going to make things easy. Rudolf Siwy won a hard-fought victory over Clancy Shields 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to tie the match and set up the dramatic finish.
All eyes were now on Schoeck of Boise State and Modoc of Fresno State. At that point, each had won a set and the two were tied at three games apiece in the third and deciding set. The two traded wins to force the tiebreaker. Modoc grabbed a 3-1 lead, but spurred on by the huge Bronco crowd, Schoeck rallied with four straight points to take the lead 5-3. Schoeck served for match point and when it was returned into the net, the jubilant Broncos celebrated.
"I was actually talking to (fellow captain Ehren) Vaughan earlier," Schoeck said. "I have never clinched a big match before, and he said he had a feeling that it was going to come down to me. When it did, I wasn't nervous at all. I play my best when I am worrying only about my game, when I am completely focused on only my match."
Schoeck was named First Team All-WAC in singles, as well as First Team All-WAC in doubles with partner Luke Shields. Luke and Clancy Shields were each also named to the All-WAC singles first team. Clancy Shields and partner Steve Robertson were named to the All-WAC first team in doubles competition, and Eric Roberson garnered second-team honors in singles competition.
The men's WAC Championship was on the heels of a thrilling women's title match between Boise State and Fresno State, with that one won by the Bulldogs by the same 4-3 count. It was the third WAC title in the last year for Boise State, as the tennis team joined the football team and the indoor track team atop the league.
The Broncos will learn of their road to the NCAA Championship when the pairings are announced Wednesday, May 3rd live on ESPN News.
Congratulations to Coach Patton and the WAC Champion Boise State Broncos!
No. 1 Boise State (No. 29 ITA) defeated No. 2 Fresno State (No. 47 ITA) – 4-3
April 23, 2006
Appleton Tennis Center
No. 57 Schoeck/L. Shields, Boise State defeated No. 37 Gibbs/Modoc, FS – 9-7
Robertson/C. Shields, Boise State defeated Irie/Siwy, FS – 8-2
Cech/Tadevosian, FS defeated Dilaj/Roberson, Boise State – 9-8 (2)
Order of Finish – 2, 3, 1
No. 49 Jakub Cech, FS defeated No. 42 Luke Shields, Boise State – 6-4, 7-6 (1)
No. 125 Thomas Schoeck, Boise State defeated Sergiu Modoc, FS – 6-7 (2), 6-2, 7-6 (4)
Rudolf Siwy, FS defeated Clancy Shields, Boise State – 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
Eric Roberson, Boise State defeated Charles Irie, FS – 6-1, 2-6, 6-3
Piotr Dilaj, Boise State defeated Sam Tadevosian, FS – 6-2, 6-3
Jordi Ballester, FS defeated Brent Werbeck, Boise State – 6-3, 6-4
Order of Finish – 5, 6, 1, 4, 3, 2