BYU Men's Tennis heads to California for ITA Kick-off Weekend

Freshman Francis Sargeant leads the team in doubles wins with partner Spencer Smith. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah - The No. 49 BYU men’s tennis team looks to bounce back from last weekend’s losses as it travels to Malibu, Calif., to take on No. 36 Vanderbilt Friday as part of the ITA Kick-off Weekend.

The Cougars (1-2) take on the Vanderbilt Commodores (1-0) Friday at 10 a.m. PST. The winner will advance to compete against the winner of No. 12 Pepperdine (0-0) and No. 52 Cal Poly (0-2) Saturday at 2 p.m. PST in the championships for a berth at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February. A consolation match will be played between the two remaining teams Saturday at 10 a.m. PST.

Pepperdine was selected to host the four-team tournament based on its year-end 2011 Campbell/ITA team ranking. Pepperdine holds the top seed while BYU claims the No. 2 seed. Vanderbilt and Cal Poly follow as the third and fourth seed, respectively. 

The matchup against Vanderbilt is a first for BYU, while the Cougars have a 1-9 record against perennial powerhouse and new West Coast Conference foe Pepperdine. BYU holds a winning record against Cal Poly at 2-1.

Leading the Cougars at the No. 1 singles position is No. 43 Georgy Batrakov. Batrakov knocked off top-10 player Kevin King of Georgia Tech at the ITA All-American Championships in the fall. The Russian senior is 11-4 on the season and 8-5 at the No. 1 doubles position with sophomore Patrick Kawka. Kawka ranks No. 106 in singles and holds a 13-6 season record.

Junior Spencer Smith scored BYU’s lone point against then-No. 9 UCLA last weekend with a win against No. 72 Clay Thompson. Smith has the most singles and doubles wins for the team with a 15-3 singles season record and 10-5 doubles season record with freshman Francis Sargeant.

BYU’s third ranked player is No. 67 Keaton Cullimore. Freshman Cullimore is 11-6 on the season and 4-2 in doubles with senior Michael Eraso.

Vanderbilt has one ranked player in No. 87 Charlie Jones, who only dropped one game at the No. 1 singles position in Vanderbilt’s 6-1 win over Middle Tennessee last week.

The Commodores hope to have their No. 1 player, Ryan Lipman, back from injury by Friday.

A total of 60 men’s teams will be competing around the country as part of the ITA Kick-off Weekend.