It's no secret--everyone connected with the Boise State tennis team is aware of the team's goal to win a national championship, from every player on the team to Coach Greg Patton to all of the Broncos' fans. To win the national championship, a team has to be able to win anywhere (home, away, neutral) and needs to beat the top teams in the nation along the way.
With Boise State's hard-fought 4-3 win over #40 North Carolina State today in the opening round of the NCAA Tennis Championships, the Broncos beat a good ACC team in its home state. They've proven that they can win in a tough environment. However, the team has yet to defeat a top ten team. In that respect, they are much like the football team, which has had a tough time with Top 25 teams. The football team did score a win against #9 Fresno State back in 2001, while the tennis team shocked top five UCLA in 1998 on its way to a #2 national ranking.
That 1998 Bronco tennis team, which featured current professional and Wimbledon champion Wesley Moodie, nearly took the national title. The 2006 Broncos don't have that big win.... yet. But a victory over #5 Duke on its home courts will take that monkey off of this year's team. After that, anything's possible--and as early as this year.
The key to today's win was capturing the doubles point as Luke Shields and Thomas Schoeck, the nation's #22 doubles team, defeated William Noblitt and Will Shaw 9-7, while Clancy Shields and Steve Robertson knocked off Val Benada and Chris Welte 8-5. That put immediate pressure on the Wolfpack. They would have to win four of the six singles matches to defeat the Broncos.
Senior Thomas Schoeck provided leadership with an easy 6-0, 6-1 win over Banada and Clancy Shields followed with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Noblitt. The Broncos were up 3-0 and the home crowd was not happy. The Wolfpack fought back gamely, as Weinacker topped Petra Dilaj (6-1, 6-4) at #5 singles and Cavaday put away Luke Shields (6-3, 6-3). Then NC State tied it up as Shaw downed Eric Roberson 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The last match on the court was Boise State's Brent Werbeck versus Welte, a match that also went three sets. Werbeck came from behind to win 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 and the victorious Broncos celebrated. It was the second consecutive opening round win in the NCAA Championships, as Boise State put away North Carolina, also from the ACC, last year in Boise.
The Boise State-Duke battle will begin at noon Sunday. Live scoring will be available at www.goduke.com.
Boise State 4, NC State 3
1. Luke Shields/Thomas Schoeck, Boise State, defeated William Noblitt/Will Shaw, NCSU, 9-7
2. Clancy Shields/Steve Robertson, Boise State, defeated Val Benada/Chris Welte, NCSU, 8-5
3. Piotr Dilaj/Eric Roberson, Boise State, vs Nick Cavaday/Jay Weinacker, NCSU, 8-7 DNF
1. Cavaday, NCSU, defeated Luke Shields, Boise State, 6-3 6-3
2. Schoeck, Boise State, defeated Benada, NCSU, 6-0 6-1
3. Clancy Shields, Boise State, defeated Noblitt, NCSU, 6-1 6-3
4. Shaw, NCSU, defeated Roberson, 1-6 6-3 6-4
5. Weinacker, NCSU, defeated Dilaj, Boise State, 6-1 6-4
6. Brent Werbeck, Boise State, defeated Welte, NCSU, 6-7 6-2 6-3