(Photo by BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – Boasting four seniors, one junior, two sophomores and three freshmen, BYU men’s tennis struck the perfect balance of upper and lower classmen to be a competitive threat this season.
“I’m excited to get the season underway,” BYU head coach Brad Pearce said. “I think the chemistry this year is going to be phenomenal. We have the right amount of experience and leadership with the right mixture of young players who are eager to compete.”
The Cougars finished the 2015-16 season ranked No. 61 after compiling an 18-7 overall record and a 9-1 home record – the best finish since an undefeated home mark in 2013. BYU fell to Pepperdine in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament.
“We’re missing two starters from last season and I know every player has the talent and capability to step up and fill in,” Pearce said. “At the end of the day, I have confidence in every single guy on this team.”
The Cougars competed in four tournaments during the fall season, including the Utah Fall Tennis Classic, Dar Walters Fall Classic, ITA Regionals presented by Oracle and the Southern California Intercollegiate Championships.
BYU returned All-WCC honorable mention singles player Keaton Cullimore. Cullimore, a senior, won the singles draw at the Utah Fall Classic and advanced to the round of 16 in singles at the Dar Walters Classic.
Other highlights of fall play included senior Aidan Carrazedo’s victory over No. 63 Jake DeVine from USC to advance to the quarterfinals of the SoCal Intercollegiates. Sophomore JD Malan advanced to the round of 16 at the ITA Regionals, while senior Jacob Sullivan had a successful run advancing to the quarterfinals of the Dar Walters Classic.
During the fall season, BYU welcomed back returned missionary Matthew Pearce who served in Taiwan. The Cougars also brought in freshman Sam Tullis who returned home from his mission in Costa Rica. Both players bounced back into competition as Pearce advanced to the round of 16 at the Dar Walters Classic, while Tullis teamed up with Carrazedo for round of 16 appearances in both the ITA regionals and the SoCal Intercollegiates.
Cousins Derek Vincent and Garret Vincent also joined the team this season. Derek won the doubles title of the Utah Fall Classic with senior Jeremy Bourgeois.
Cullimore, Bourgeois and junior John Pearce were selected as the 2016-17 team captains.
The Cougars begin the 2017 campaign at home with a doubleheader against Idaho State and Weber State on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. MDT, respectively. At the end of January, BYU will travel to Boston to face Ivy League teams Harvard and Cornell. The Cougars will then host four regional opponents, including Utah on Feb. 9.
BYU opens conference play at home against San Francisco on Feb. 18. The Cougars also host reigning WCC champion San Diego on March 15. Wrapping up the regular season, BYU will play at Loyola Marymount before competing in the WCC Tournament in Claremont, Calif. April 26-29.
For the complete men’s tennis schedule, click here.