After ending the 2002-2003 season with a 13-9 record and a third place finish in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, the BYU men's tennis team looks to carry on the excellent tradition of Cougar athletics.
As the men's tennis team will see some new recruits, they will also see a new head coach. Brad Pearce is in his fifth year as a coach for the men's team. He was a four-year assistant to former head coach, Jim Osborne who coached the Cougars for the last 15 years.
"I'm really excited about this year," said head coach Brad Pearce. "I think we've got great players with a lot of talent and drive."
Pearce brings a wealth of knowledge to the team as he begins his first year as head coach. He has made appearances in Wimbledon, is a two-time All-American, a gold and bronze medalist in the 1986 Goodwill Games and was a traveling member of the U.S. Davis Cup Team.
Head coach Brad Pearce will look to his former players, Dann Battistone as the team manager and Anton Rudjuk, as the team's graduate assistant to lead the Cougars to another successful season. Battistone and Rudjuk are real aces for coach Pearce to have assisting this year's squad.
Although the team has lost the leadership of Carlos Lozano and Jeff Olsen, Pearce is optimistic with this year's team. Pearce hopes the three seniors will establish a culture of work ethic and intensity that will pervade though the entire team.
"We have some experience with Erik Nyman and Richard Dasek returning this year as seniors," said Pearce. "We should have great depth with all of the returning players, which will bring strong experience. And the eagerness from the incoming freshmen will add to our success."
With three solid seniors this year all capable of playing very well, Pearce feels that adding Lechuga and the new freshmen to the line up should make this year's team tough to bear.
Senior Erik Nyman will bring strength to the men's singles as he finished last season with a promising 20-11 and a 22-14 in doubles with teammate Carlos Lozano. His leadership will be needed this season as he and Lozano played at the No. 1 position for most of the 2003-04 season.
"Erik has improved greatly since last season," Pearce said. "He is very capable of greatness. He's got enough weapons to hurt you in a big game and he'll be a great leader for the team."
As a senior Alonso Medina will play an important role in the doubles circuit as he gained valuable experience last season playing along side Jeff Olsen. As a junior college transfer last season, Medina also brought depth to the men's singles game as well.
"Alonzo is a great all around player," Pearce said. "He should be able to step it up when we need him to. As a senior, he's got some great experience as well."
Richard Dasek sat out last season as a transfer from the College of the Desert in southern California. He and Jose Lechuga have worked hard in the off-season and are prepared to bring added intensity to the court.
"Dasek and Lechuga have improved and really progressed over the last year," Pearce said. "They both hit very well and should be big factors for us in the dual season."
Sophomore Michael Sperry, who finished last season with a 4-4 record in singles, has worked to improve his game and perfect his big serve.
"Mike is a great all court player," Pearce said. "He's going to be strong for us. He will only get better as the weeks go on."
The Cougars welcome three newcomers -- Nima Roshan, Christian "Chip" Hand, and Tim Bradshaw.
The three freshmen, which coach Pearce calls the "Fabulous Freshmen," will be an added bonus for this year's team. Pearce hopes to get significant play from each of them.
"Our fabulous freshmen will be great this year," Pearce said. "Chip hits the ball a ton while Nima is capable of hitting all the shots and Tim has a strong forehand and an equally strong backhand."
With teams like Stanford, Boise State, Washington and Oklahoma State on the schedule, this year's team will have to battle for every win.
"All of these teams are consistently ranked in the top 30 every year," Pearce said. "Those would be huge wins for us, but we'll have to play tough. Our conference matches are always tough, but overall we have a pretty good schedule. It should open some doors for the future of BYU tennis."
Coach Pearce expects to have nine to 10 solid players battling for the numbers one and two singles spots all year. They are all that good.
"Our main goal is to win the conference and finish as a top-25 team," Pearce said. "Solid tennis is what we need from each player throughout the season."