Boise State junior men's tennis player Andy Bettles lost three of his first four matches this year.
After one particular loss, he sat down in coach Greg Patton's office in January.
"I just kind of thought, 'I can't keep going on like this,' " Bettles said. "It's a long season, and it would've been longer if I didn't make some changes."
Since that meeting, Bettles has rattled off 19 wins in his 21 matches at the No. 1 singles spot for Boise State, which faces Nevada in its home finale Friday. The match starts at 1 p.m. at Appleton Tennis Center.
"He got knocked down and just came back better," Patton said. "A lot of times, you need to come to a guy that good if something's not working. He came to us and that's when you really knew he was special."
With 80 victories already under his belt in his three years at Boise State, Bettles is well on his way to becoming one of the most decorated singles players in school history and well in line for an NCAA berth.
"He's one of the best we've ever had here. He's becoming legendary," Patton said.
With Bettles at No. 1 singles, his streak has sparked a strong run for the team. The Broncos (16-9) have won 10 of their past 11 matches, a run which started March 15-17 with wins over ranked Nebraska, Notre Dame and Texas Tech at the Blue Gray Intercollegiate in Birmingham, Ala.
Bettles went 3-0 in those matches, with two wins coming in the maximum three sets.
"He did some ridiculously heroic things that weekend," said senior Scott Sears, who helped bring his long-time friend from England to Boise. "A lot of guys look up to him, and rightly so because of his work ethic. He has a real fire in his heart."
Sears, Bettles and the rest of the 44th-ranked Broncos will seek to end the home slate on a positive note after BYU snapped a 28-match home winning streak earlier this month.
A win over Nevada and a strong showing in the Mountain West championships next week in Colorado Springs, Colo., could boost the Broncos' bubble profile. Yes, just like the men's basketball team, the men's tennis team is on the precipice of an NCAA berth.
SALUTE TO THE SENIORS
Boise State will honor three seniors Friday - Sears, Filipp Pogostkin and Freddy Walsh. Sears is 7-14 at No. 3 singles this spring, Pogostkin is 11-6 at No. 4 and Walsh is 1-0 at No. 6.
"It's been so much better than I ever imagined, I'm going to be devastated to leave these guys, leave this place," said Sears, whose sister is the longtime girlfriend of Olympic gold medalist and U.S Open champion Andy Murray. "It's going to be emotional, but it's been such a great experience."
Freshman Thomas Tenreiro has won 14 straight singles matches, while junior Nathan Sereke has won 10 straight at No. 2 singles.
Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_southorn