2002 Men's Tennis Season Summary | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

2002 Men's Tennis Season Summary

The Cougars got All-American performances from a couple of their players, but it turned out to be not quite enough to repeat as Mountain West Conference champions and return to the NCAA Championships. The team powered its way to a 14-10 record, including a trip to the MWC Tournament finals and a No. 69 final ranking.

Carlos Lozano and Gert Vilms led the Cougar attack in doubles play, holding a place in the nation's top ten for most of the season. Their season came to a surprising end when they lost in the first round at the NCAA Championships to the No. 12 team of John Fruttero and Robert Kowalczyk of California. Despite the early exit from the tournament, Lozano and Vilms earned a spot on the All-American team and a season-ending No. 14 ranking.

Lozano and Vilms weren't the only stars on the team though, as BYU got great performances from seniors Nic Losee and Jeff Harbach, juniors Jeff Olsen and Anton Rudjuk, sophomore Erik Nyman and freshman Jose Luis Lechuga. Head coach Jim Osborne set up a grueling schedule for the team, with only four home matches all season, and the Cougars still found success throughout the season.

BYU overcame injuries and tough opponents to compile a 9-7 record in non conference play. The Cougars endured an early-season five-match losing streak, including losses to conference rival San Diego State and the eventual national champions, Southern Cal. BYU came back to win its next six matches and primed itself for Mountain West Conference play.

The Cougars stormed into their conference season, winning the first four matches of conference play in dominating fashion. BYU's strong start set up a match with San Diego State for the No. 1 seed of the MWC Tournament, but the Aztecs came out on top. The teams met once more in the finals of the MWC Tournament, where BYU had the chance to defend its 2001 MWC title. Unfortunately for the Cougars, San Diego State had their number for the final time. The teams met a total of three times throughout the season, with the Aztecs winning all three matches.

The second-place finish at the MWC Tournament cost the Cougars a spot in the NCAA Team Championships, but Vilms and Lozano each traveled to College Station, Texas, to compete in the NCAA Individual Championships. Vilms suffered the same fate individually as he did with Lozano, losing in the first round of singles play to All-American David Martin of Stanford.

In the 2002-03 season, BYU will need to find a way to make up for the loss of three seniors who each made steady contributions to the team. Harbach will be missed for his leadership and will to win. Harbach, the Dale R. McCann Team Spirit Award winner, played through pain for much of his Cougar career and was an inspiration to his team. Vilms finished his career with an 80-47 singles record and an even better 99-35 doubles record. Losee returned this past season and provided solid production to the middle to top of BYU's singles lineup.