BYU Heads North to Begin Conference Play

The Cougars will open conference play against TCU, Utah and UNLV this week. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- A weekend of stiff competition with conference opponents awaits the No. 63 BYU men’s tennis team in Salt Lake City. The 12-8 Cougars will face No. 48 TCU, No. 62 Utah and No. 65 UNLV.

“We play three good schools,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “We’re poised and ready after last weekend’s matches to play with confidence.”

Conference champion TCU will be the first hurdle for BYU. The Horned Frogs own a 6-9 record on the season with their last results being a 7-0 win over Columbia. Their two ranked doubles teams have broken the top 30 and currently sit at No. 21 and No. 28. TCU also has three singles players in the ranking mix.

The teams met twice last year, once in the regular season and once at the conference tournament. The Horned Frogs bested the Cougars in both matches.

“We were a younger team last year,” Pearce said. “This year we have more experience and better know what to expect in these tough conference matches.”

BYU will turn its attention to in-state rival Utah Friday. The 12-6 Utes defeated Loyola Marymount, 6-1, in their last outing. Utah has one pair ranked in the top 75. Last season, the Cougars were unable to overcome the Utes, dropping a 4-3 match at home.

The team will close out the weekend against UNLV. The Rebels are 12-8 on the season and 1-1 in conference play after sweeping Air Force but falling 5-2 to No. 34 New Mexico. BYU lost a close 4-3 match to UNLV in the regular season before upsetting them 4-2 in the first round of the conference tournament last year.

“They are all good teams so we’re just taking it one match at a time,” Pearce said.

Thursday’s match against TCU begins at 9 a.m. The match Friday starts at 1 p.m. and play versus UNLV is set for 9 a.m. Saturday. All matches will be played at the Liberty Park Tennis Center, weather pending. If inclement weather occurs, matches will be moved indoors to the Eccles Tennis Center.