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Pudney leads strong Griz effort in Boise

13 Dec 2021 | 08:33 | Men's Tennis

The Montana men’s tennis team opened its fall season at the Dar Walters Classic in Boise over the weekend with a mixed traveling squad of veterans and freshmen that rode a hot start to some promising results.

In the first fall tournament for UM since 2019, the Griz didn’t disappoint either, with deep runs in the doubles and singles bracket.

Senior duo Ed Pudney and Oisin Shaffrey beat players from Boise State, Idaho, and Air Force en route to a third-place finish in the doubles.

And Pudney, who spent his junior season on the No. 1 court for Montana, also dominated his way through the singles bracket, going 4-0 with a 6-1, 6-0 consolation final win over Air Force’s Jordan Azuma.

“It was a solid weekend for us, and we were excited just to get to compete. We played really well on day one, so it’s nice to see the guys get off to a good start,” said UM head coach Jason Brown.

“It was good competition and was valuable for us to get some prep work in before we play in the regional tournament in two weeks.”

Led by Shaffrey and Pudney, the Griz have made inroads at the regional tourney in the past.

With Pudney knocking off opponents from BSU, Idaho, and Air Force in singles this weekend and Shaffrey taking wins over the Broncos and Vandals as well, the two are positioned well positioned to make a splash in the region once again.

“They looked like two seniors out there, and they’re going to be a tough out for anyone in the nation this season, I think. They play so well together and give you everything you’d want,” said Brown.

The Grizzlies’ two freshmen also picked up some good wins in their first outing in college tennis, with both Sam Baldwin and Gustav Theilgaard taking wins over Boise State junior college transfer Ryo Minikata, an All-American who had never lost a college tennis match heading into the tournament.

“I was really impressed with our freshmen this week. They were both composed and seemed to buy right into what we’re doing right away. I could tell they have lots of match experience, so I like what I see,” Brown added.

Montana returns to action in two weeks with a trip to Provo, Utah, to take on the best in the Mountain West at the ITA Mountain Regional Tournament, running September 21-25.

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