The UM women’s tennis match on March 27 came down to a tiebreaker between Weber State’s Utika Yunna and Montana senior Julia Ronney. Ronney won the first game and Yunna won the second before Ronney clinched the match in the third.
“It was huge. I think she (Ronney) had to battle today,” UM head women’s coach Steve Ascher said. “She really had to dig deep and gut that match out.”
Ronney has won seven of her nine matches this season and has won her last five. She has been a part of three doubles wins in 2021.
In doubles matches, the Griz won 2-1, and Montana split the singles matches 3-3 to advance to a 4-3 win. Ronney, Olivia Oosterbaan and Lauren Dunlap all won their senior matches for UM.
Ronney and Oosterbaan won one of the doubles matches while Dunlap teamed up with Alex Walker to win the other for Montana.
The Griz are now 5-4 on the season and will play Montana State in Bozeman on April 4.
The UM men’s tennis team also had a successful weekend, upsetting Gonzaga 4-3 on March 28. Gonzaga is ranked 68th in the nation while Montana is unranked.
“I’m so happy for these guys. It’s been tough. We’ve had a tough schedule, we haven’t been playing our best, and it’s just been a tough year,” said head men’s tennis coach coach Jason Brown.
Junior Pontus Hallgren sealed the win for UM in a close final match and junior Ed Pudney and freshman Moritz Stoeger also picked up wins. UM athletics stated that the win was UM tennis’s first win over a ranked opponent in “modern history.”
The Griz are now 6-8 and will take on the Air Force Academy in Pocatello, Idaho, on April 3.
In Montana’s first of two softball games against Portland State on March 27, junior infielder Kylie Becker was up to bat in the sixth inning with two outs and the bases loaded. An errant pitch came Becker’s way, and she braced as the pitch hit her leg and allowed UM to automatically advance a runner home and take a 2-0 lead.
The walk allowed UM to win the game 2-1 and begin conference play 1-0. Later in the day on March 27, the Griz once again took on Portland State in Portland.
The second game wasn’t as low-scoring as Montana won 10-1. Four different players had at least three hits in the game.
“I’m really proud of the overall effort by everybody,” Montana head softball coach Melanie Meuchel said after the game.
Senior pitcher Tristin Achenbach picked up a win in the first game when she only allowed four hits. Freshman pitcher Allie Brock picked up her second win of the year in the second game, where she struck out five batters.
On March 28, Montana once again took on Portland State, this time winning a thriller 9-8.
UM built a 4-1 lead in the second inning before Portland State ended up tying the game at 6-6 in the fifth inning. Senior infielder Cami Sellers then hit a three-run home run that put the Griz up 9-6. Portland State was able to score two more runs, but UM held on after Brock pitched a scoreless final inning. Junior infielder Kylie Becker led UM with six RBIs in the game.
Montana is now 9-18, but it has a perfect 3-0 record in conference play. UM’s next two games will be against Sacramento State at home on April 2 and 3.
Track and Field
The 2021 track season got off to a good start for UM at the Al Manuel Northwest Invite in Missoula when the Griz won 12 different events.
“I thought we showed that we’re not top-heavy,” UM head track coach Clint May told UM Athletics. “We have athletes up and down the roster who can be competitive.”
The Montana men scored 133 points, higher than any other team at the event. UM’s women’s team had the second highest point total, with 127 points.
Montana’s athletes saw 62 different personal bests. Along with Montana, athletes from Eastern Washington, Montana State, Utah State and Carroll College all competed at the meet.
Montana’s first wins were the men’s and women’s hammer throws. Tanessa Morris won with a throw of over 185 feet while Matt Ward also threw the hammer just over 185 feet.
Dylan Kipp won the men’s javelin event for the Griz when he threw the spear over 230 feet, which was two feet short of the school record. His throw is the farthest by a Big Sky Conference athlete so far this year.
UM Redshirt Senior Kimberly Earhart won the women’s javelin. Sophomore Jordan Stow won the men’s long jump. Sophomore Jansen Ziola won the women’s high jump.
Sophomore standout Cade Johnstone won the men’s 200 meter race while junior Kyle Peterson won the men’s 5,000 meter race. Sophomore Abby Harmon won the women’s 400 meter hurdles.
Sophomore Alisa Gilbert won the women’s long jump. Montana finished second in both the women’s 4x400 meter relay and the women’s 4x100 meter relay.
The next track meet that Montana will compete at is the H.I.R Invitational, hosted by Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.
The University of Montana soccer team won twice at home against Portland State to stay undefeated. For more on those games, go to page 15.