The Idaho men’s tennis team is back in action.
The Vandals will travel to Boise to compete in the Dar Walters Fall Classic Thursday through Sunday. The tournament, hosted by Boise State, features 15 western schools. Montana State, Utah, Utah State and Weber State are all expected to attend.
“Personally, I’m feeling great,” Idaho head coach Abid Akbar said. “I think every player on the team should feel very confident too because they have put in a lot of work.”
Without seniors on the roster, Idaho is one of the younger teams competing. Akbar said he is proud of how the players from last year have stepped up into leadership positions.
“The two juniors we have were two of the most successful guys we had last year. They have the best records, they have played amazing tennis and they are the best competitors,” Akbar said. “That really helps the young ones when the standards are set high.”
Akbar also said the new players have played well so far.
“The way they have come out every day is inspiring me,” Akbar said. “It’s making me work hard. The way the young ones are fighting to push their way to the top of the lineup, it’s very encouraging.”
Boise State went 20-10 last year. During the Battle of the Bay Sept. 25, Jack Heslin defeated players from four different schools including Stanford and Iowa.
“Boise State is always tough,” Akbar said “But I think the level we are playing at now, we have two to three guy that are in contention to win the tournament.”
Akbar said Portland State, a Big Sky Conference rival, will also be competitive. “The good thing is we have played against those guys a lot in the past,” Akbar said. “But when it comes to fall tournaments, it’s not really about one school as it is in the spring. It’s about the individuals. During a good weekend, any player can come out and do good in the tournament.”
Idaho is coming off a two week resting period. The Vandals dropped the Purdue Tournament in September.
Akbar said because of the long trip and lack of strong competition in the tournament, he gave his players a break.
Idaho begins matches Thursday.
Brandon Hill can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @brandonmtnhill