No. 70 Bobcat Men’s Tennis Team Heads to Oregon for Three Key Matches

BOISE, Idaho – Montana State heads to Oregon for three key matches this weekend, one against Big Sky rival Portland State, but the where and who aren’t as important to Bobcat coach Trey Morris is the what and how.

“Throughout the course of the week we’re fixed on individuals, working on what each player needs to continue to develop their game,” said Morris. “Each guy continues their own development and play style. We focus more on ourselves that our opponents.”

The Bobcats, ranked 70th in this week’s ITA national poll, face the University of Portland Friday at 11 am MT before Saturday’s conference match at Portland State. First serve in that contest is 3 pm PT. On Sunday, MSU travels south on Sunday to face 44th-ranked Oregon at 6 pm.

From Friday morning to Sunday evening, Morris says his squad will have its hands full. “What I see from these three teams is that they’re all tough, they’re all very solid,” he said. “The two non-conference programs are traditionally really strong programs year in and year out. Last year we really struggled against Portland State, so they have our respect.”

Montana State’s two non-league foes each feature talented individuals. Portland’s Nicolas Ocana-Port is ranked 114th in the ITA singles poll, while Oregon (21st) and Portland (49th) each feature top 100 doubles teams.

“We feel confident in each matchup that if we compete hard and build on what we learned from the Pacific match (a 6-1 win in Boise) last weekend we can have success against all three. But we need to focus on doing the little things well. “

Morris said “doing the little things” has been a focal point for his program since the fall. “In terms of the message when we get close to a match, it’s about the little things we can do well as a group, as a team,” he said. “Then our strategy is, once we get going on game day, to make adjustments on the strategic side to help each individual.”

While the team changes gears on the middle day of the weekend from non-conference to conference competition, Morris said there’s not much of a difference. “I don’t think there’s really a change in mentality (from non-conference to conference matches). In our minds we know the conference matches are more important, but our approach in every match is to improve as individuals to give ourselves the best opportunity to win. Our mentality is always the same. “

One area of ​​continued improvement based on an adjustment made between last weekend’s Boise State and University of the Pacific matches is in doubles play. Morris tweaked his team’s doubles lineup, and was pleased with the results.

“We feel really good about our doubles teams this weekend,” he said. “We made some lineup adjustments after the Boise State match and we’ve worked hard to find a position where every player can be successful. We’ll see what the results are this weekend, but I like where we are right now.”

After the Oregon match, Montana State finishes the regular season with six straight conference contests. That run of league games begins at Idaho State on Friday, March 18.


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