Playing in its first outdoor match of the season, the Montana men's tennis team nearly pulled off the upset of the year, taking a 2-0 lead over UNLV in Las Vegas before falling short in a 4-2 decision to the Rebels.
Montana (6-9, 3-2 Big Sky) came out of the gates strong with a 2-1 win in the doubles round, its fourth doubles point in the past seven matches.
Alex Canellopoulos kept the momentum going in singles, beating UNLV's Olle Thesrup 6-2, 6-0 on court one to put UM up 2-0.
Oisin Shaffrey had opportunities to win on court five, and Ludvig Hallgren's match on court three remained unfinished when the Rebels clinched the match. A win in either of those matches could have swung the overall result the way of the Griz, but it was not to be as UNLV picked up wins on courts two, four, five and six.
"It was our first outdoor match, it was windy and hot, and they had some kids step up and play great tennis," said head coach Jason Brown.
Doubles was an area of focus for the Grizzlies heading into the weekend. The extra attention paid off too, with Canellopoulos and Hallgren getting the Griz off to the right start with a 7-5 win.
UNLV's Solberg/Dabic pair then knotted the doubles round with another tight 7-5 win on court three before UM's Max Korkh clinched the point for the Griz with a 7-6 nail-biter on court two.
"We played our best doubles of the season, and it wasn't even close. Far in away our best doubles of the year," added Brown.
Canellopoulos then extended the Griz lead to 2-0 with his win on court one. The senior has been on a tear over the last two weeks, posting three-straight straight-set victories, and only allowing Thestrup to take two games off him against UNLV.
Following that, the Rebels tied the match 2-2 with a pair of wins over Korkh and Finn Anderson on courts two and six. Pundney was the next to fall for the Griz on court four, 6-2, 6-3 to put UNLV ahead for good.
UNLV has played three Big Sky teams so far in their 11-4 season (Weber, NAU, and ISU). UM's 4-2 result is the best showing of them all.
Montana now turns its attention to another Mountain West foe in Boise State in Las Vegas. The start time of the match between former Big Sky foes has been bumped back an hour, and will now start at 1 p.m. (MT) at UNLV's Fertitta Tennis Complex.
— UM sports information