Chip Hand used his strong serve to help him to a big two-set victory. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah (Jan.14, 2006) -- The No. 63 BYU men's tennis team played quality tennis in their season-opener beating Utah State 7-0 and Weber State 5-2 in a double-header Saturday at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts. BYU is now 2-0 on the season.
"It's nice to start out 2-0," Coach Brad Pearce said. "It gives us confidence and momentum for the rest of the season."
James Ludlow and Jose Lechuga set the pace for the Cougars with their doubles victory against the Aggies. The duo traded blows with Utah State's Johannes Zelle and Dantley Young for the first four games, knotting the score at 2-2. It wasn't until Ludlow and Lechuga were able to break USU's serve and then hold serve to go up 4-2 that they were able to start pulling away. Zeele and Young held serve to pull it to 4-3, but that was as close as they would get, as Ludlow and Lechuga broke once more and held serve three more times with Lechuga serving to the 8-4 win. This was the first match Ludlow and Lechuga have ever played as partners.
BYU's other doubles teams of Christian Hand and Jonathan Sanchez and Dominik Kaufhold and Ivan Kokurin both won their matches 8-2, allowing BYU to sweep doubles and take the point.
"Our doubles were great across the board," Pearce said. "The team put forth great effort and fought very hard."
The Cougars continued their dominance in singles, as BYU won each of the six matches in straight sets. Ludlow, who took the place of the injured Nima Roshan, played at the No. 1 spot and came away with an impressive 6-1, 6-2 win over Zelle.
The evening match against Weber State proved successful for the Cougars as well, as they went away with a 5-2 win over the Wildcats. The doubles were once again impressive for BYU, as all three doubles teams won handily. Zach Warren and Henry Marsh played in an exhibition doubles match which they won going away 8-1.
The highlight of the evening match took place on court No. 1, where Chip Hand and Sascha Kiehne paired off in a slugfest. Hand and Kiehne held their serves relentlessly early on and battled to a 5-5 tie in the first set. Hand was finally able to break Kiehne's serve to go up 6-5, and then once again relied on his strong serve. Hand has said his serve is no liability, and in this set that proved to be true. His serve was too much for Kiehne to handle, and Hand went on to take the first set 7-5. In the second set the tide began to change because of strong play by Kiehne. He worked his way impressively to a 5-3 lead and looked to be on his way to a second-set win. However, Hand began to gain momentum behind his serve and fought the set into a tiebreaker, which he went on to win 7-3, giving him the match.
Although Hand played well, Pearce said his play was indicative of the way the entire team played. He said he was very proud of his team's performance in the first matches of the season.
"We played some physically and mentally grueling matches today, and the team took the challenge and performed beautifully." Pearce said. "We needed someone to step up and the whole team stepped up."
The team now prepares to step up next weekend when they will compete in the Regional Playoff for a chance at a berth in the National Team Indoor Championships. They play Colorado Saturday Jan. 21 at 12:30 p.m.
BYU v.s. USU
Ludlow (BYU) def. Zelle 6-1, 6-2
Hand (BYU) def. Pinho 6-1, 6-3
Sanchez (BYU) def. Netto 6-0, 6-2
Kokurin (BYU) def. Young 6-2, 6-3
Kaufhold (BYU)def. Marchant 6-4, 6-0
Lechuga (BYU) def. Tyden 6-4, 6-1
Lechuga/Ludlow (BYU) def. Zelle/Young 8-4
Hand/Sanchez (BYU) def Pinho/Netto 8-2
Kaufhold/Kokurin (BYU) def. Marchant/Tyden 8-2
BYU v.s. WSU
Hand (BYU) def. Kiehne 7-5, 7-6 (7-4)
Ludlow (BYU) def. Rideout 6-1, 6-1
Mancarella (WSU) def. Kokurin 7-5, 1-6, 6-4
Kaufhold (BYU) def. Allred 6-0, 6-0
Lechuga (BYU) def. Thompson 6-1, 6-1
Williams (WSU) def. Warren 7-5, 5-7, 10-5
Lechuga/Ludlow (BYU) def. Mancarella/Kiehne 8-4
Hand/Sanchez (BYU) def. Rideout/Williams 8-3
Kaufhold/ Kokurin (BYU) def. Thompson/Allred 8-3