After an embarrassing defeat to decided underdog Hawai'i in the Western Athletic Conference semifinals last year, the Boise State tennis team tries to recapture the WAC title this week at the 2009 Championships in Honolulu.
Coach Greg Patton's 20th-ranked Broncos are once again the favorites, with the closest challenge coming from #41 Fresno State and the host team, #68 Hawai'i. Coach Patton's Army is undefeated in six league matches and 21-7 overall. Boise State has been hot of late, winning 10 in a row and 14 of their last 15. The only loss during that stretch was a loss to #13 Alabama in the Blue-Grey Tournament.
Boise State drew a bye as the #1 seed in the Championships and won't play until 1 p.m. Saturday, when they take on the winner of the match between #4-seed Nevada and #5 New Mexico State. The WAC Championship is set for 4 p.m. Mountain time Sunday.
#74 Kean Feeder (21-4) or #26 Clancy Shields (18-5) will be the #1 and #2 singles players for Boise State. #85 James Meredith (19-7) will go at #3. Those three usually get the job done for the Broncos but in the postseason, they'll need contributions from the lower part of the lineup. Cristian Hodel (13-12) is the likely #4 player, with Stanley Sarapanich (7-16) at #5 and Blane Shields (8-12) going at #6.
Rudolf Siwy (23-12) is slated for #1 singles for Fresno State, which is 5-1 in the WAC and 16-8 overall. Mirko Zapletal is 14-14 on the season, chiefly at #2 singles although he has had some experience playing at the top of the lineup. Rikus de Villiers (19-11) will go at #3, Remi Boutillier (23-9) is #4, Tejesvi Veerrepalli (16-7) is set for #5 and Flavio Molinedo (13-4) is #6 for Fresno State. Unlike the Broncos, you can see that Fresno's lower three wins the majority of the time. If Fresno can get an upset or two at the top, they have a good chance to knock off the favored Broncos.
Hawai'i is 5-2 in the WAC but just 7-10 overall. The Rainbow Warriors lost to Boise State last week 6-1 but gave Fresno State a fight earlier this month before falling 4-3.
Saturday, April 25
Men's semi-finals – 1 p.m. (#1 Boise State vs. winner of Nevada-New Mexico State) and 7 p.m. (Fresno State-Utah State winner vs. Hawai'i-Idaho winner)
Sunday, April 26
Men's championship match – 4 p.m. (Two winners of Saturday's semifinal matches)