May 9, 2009

*Courtesy of Boise State Athletics

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The 25th-ranked Boise State men's tennis team earned their second berth to the NCAA National Championships in school history on Saturday after upsetting 14th-ranked Alabama on their home courts. The Broncos (24-8) defeated the Crimson Tide (21-8) in a 4-3 barnburner of a match that lasted four hours and 30 minutes.

The Broncos went up 1-0 after clinching the doubles point with a win from 43rd-ranked Kean Feeder and James Meredith in the No. 1 doubles match. Alabama answered back with two straight singles wins to go up 2-1 in the team standings. The Broncos were able to pick up one singles win, but the Crimson Tide answered right back earning their third point of the day. The Broncos were able to one-up the home team by snagging two straight three set wins to pull out a huge upset win and advance as one of only 16 teams to College Station, Texas for the NCAA National Championships.

Alabama was the first to earn a win on the day, with Ricky Doverspike and Michael Thompson defeating Matt Solomon and Blane Shields, 8-3, in the No. 3 doubles match. Boise State seniors Clancy Shields and Stanley Sarapanich responded shortly after with an 8-5 win over Billy Mertz and Saketh Myneni in the No. 2 match, leaving the No. 1 match to decide the doubles point. Feeder and Meredith rose to the challenge by fighting off 23rd-ranked Dan Buikema and Mathieu Thibaudeau, 9-8, on the No. 1 court.

The Broncos fed off of their own energy, knowing they have won every match this season in which they had won the doubles point. The Crimson Tide, however, would not let Boise State off too easily, with Michael Jung defeating Blane Shields 6-1, 6-4 in the No. 6 match and Mertz defeating Sarapanich 6-2, 6-1 in the No. 5 match.

With the Tide up 2-1, 81st-ranked Meredith evened the playing field by defeating Buikema 6-4, 6-3 in the No. 3 match.

Alabama responded with a 7-5, 6-2 win by 22nd-ranked Myneni over 72nd-ranked Feeder in the No. 1 match, leading 3-2 in the team running.

Clancy Shields, who is ranked 24th in the nation, fought through a three set match to tie up the team score 3-3, defeating 84th-ranked Thibaudeau, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the No. 2 match.

With the match on the line, as well as a berth to the national championships, freshman Cristian Hodel could not have responded in a better manner, battling back after being down one set, to earn a three set win in the No. 4 slot. He earned a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 win over another freshman, Michael Thompson, to clinch the title for the Broncos and help his team advance to College Station.

Boise State is now 1-1 with Alabama this season, after falling 4-0 to the Tide at the Blue Gray Classic in March.

The Broncos will meet up with third-ranked Ohio State (33-1) in the round of 16 in a match slated for 2:00 p.m. (MST) on Thursday, May 14. Texas A&M will play host to the 2009 National Championships, with the team championships lasting from May 14-19.

Tennis Results
#25 Boise State 4, #14 Alabama 3
Tuscaloosa, Ala.

1. #22 Saketh Myneni (ALA) def. #72 Kean Feeder (BSU), 7-5, 6-2
2. #24 Clancy Shields (BSU) def. #84 Mathieu Thibaudeau (ALA), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
3. #87 James Meredith (BSU) def. Dan Buikema (ALA), 6-4, 6-3
4. Cristian Hodel (BSU) def. Michael Thompson (ALA), 4-6, 7-5, 7-5
5. Billy Mertz (ALA) def. Stanley Sarapanich (BSU), 6-2, 6-1
6. Michael Jung (ALA) def. Blane Shields (BSU), 6-1, 6-4

Order of Finish: 6, 5, 3, 1, 2, 4

1. #43 Feeder/Meredith (BSU) def. #23 Buikema/Thibaudeau (ALA), 9-8
2. C. Shields/Sarapanich (BSU) def. Mertz/Myneni (ALA), 8-5
3. Ricky Doverspike/Thompson (ALA) def. Matt Solomon/B. Shields (BSU), 8-3

Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1

Alabama 21-8, National Ranking #14

Boise State 24-8, National Ranking #25

Attendance: 234