Rebels searching for first Mountain West Conference Championship since 2007
The Mountain West Conference (MWC) tournament is upon us, and the men’s tennis team looks primed for another run at the title.
The team enjoyed one of the most successful regular seasons in recent history, racking up 16 wins in 2013.
Those victories will mean little when they step on the courts in Colorado Springs today, as the team looks to win its first tournament title since 2007.
In the previous two seasons, the team hasn’t been able to escape the first round of play.
In appropriate fashion, the Rebels have drawn their rivals from the north in round one.
The No. 62 ranked Rebels will take on the University of Nevada, Reno in a rematch of their March 28 showdown that UNLV took 5-2.
It will take the Silver State Rivalry to another level, as this is the first time in school history the teams will meet in postseason play.
While the long-standing rivalry will be in the forefront of many players’ minds, there will be much larger implications riding on this match.
With a win the team would earn three points toward the Governor’s Series, and more importantly, advance to the semifinal round of the MWC Tournament.
UNLV heads into this matchup with momentum on their side, coming off a 7-0 drubbing of Fresno State to cap off the regular season.
They also have the advantage of familiarity with the courts. The Rebels already visited Colorado Springs earlier in the season when they defeated Air Force Academy 7-0.
The team will be led into this match by the two newcomers who have shined throughout the season.
Sophomore transfer Ace Matias compiled a record of 18-4 and earned MWC Player of the Week three times while playing on the number one court.
Equally impressive was the freshman from Israel, Gilad Berman.
Berman used his powerful serve to finish his first year of college tennis with a 15-3 record.
If they are able to complete the season sweep of Nevada, Reno the team will advance to the second round where they would take on the winner of No. 46 Boise State University and the host team Air Force.
That semifinal match would take place on Saturday at 1 p.m. PST.
Boise State handed the Rebels one of their only two home defeats this season.
The Rebels got out to an early lead over the Broncos, but were unable to hold on as Boise State rallied for a comeback victory.
On the other side of the bracket, the fourth seeded University of New Mexico will go up against fifth seeded Fresno State University for the right to play the number one team in the conference San Diego State in the other semifinal.
The conference champion will be crowned in the title match on Sunday at 9 a.m.