Keaton Cullimore clinched the win with a victory on Court 4. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
SALT LAKE CITY – The No. 52 BYU men’s tennis team topped Utah, 5-2, Wednesday at Eccles Tennis Center to clinch the overall 2011-12 Deseret First Duel title once more for the Cougars.
"Clinching the Deseret First Duel was icing on the cake," BYU coach Brad Pearce said. "It's always great to be in a position to do something for all our teams. That was exciting for us."
With three points on the line, the win puts BYU ahead of Utah 28-13. This year marks the Cougars third consecutive title.
The BYU men's tennis team (4-5) kicked off the match winning the doubles point. Junior Spencer Smith and freshman Francis Sargeant made quick of their Court 2 opponent, topping Dmytro Mamedov and Ace Matias, 8-1. The BYU duo is on a five-game win streak with a 14-6 overall record.
The Utes were quick to answer with a doubles win of their own on Court 3. Devin Lane and Slim Hamza defeated BYU’s freshman Keaton Cullimore and senior Michael Eraso, 8-4.
With the doubles point at stake, senior Georgy Batrakov and sophomore Patrick Kawka pulled through at the No. 1 position, routing Benito Suriano and Alejandro Medinilla, 8-0.
"We had prepared and worked hard for this match," Pearce said. "I was especially pleased to win the doubles point so decisively with wins at the No. 1 and No. 2 position. I think it gave us a good start."
In singles, Lane brought the score to 1-1 after topping Eraso on Court 6, 6-3, 6-2.
Singles wins by Sargeant and No. 106 Kawka put the Cougars in position to take the match before No. 67 Cullimore secured the win on Court 4, defeating Matias, 6-2, 7-5.
No. 43 Batrakov, playing at the No. 1 position, dropped his first set to Suriano before holding him to only three games in the next two sets, topping Suriano, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Utah’s second point came on Court 2 where Smith dropped a close 6-4, 4-6, 10-4 decision to Mamedov.
"It was a great team effort tonight," Pearce said. "I was really thrilled, especially with the way our freshmen stepped up. We've really worked hard in preparing for this match. It will be a good lesson for the team to see that hard work does pay off."
The Deseret First Duel, established in 2007, was created as a celebration of one of the nation’s oldest and most spirited college rivalries.
The Cougars return home to host Nevada Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts.
Pizza and prizes will be provided. Spectators may park in the “Y Lot” parking lots to the northwest and southwest of the courts anytime after 4 p.m. Admission is free.
BYU – 5
University of Utah – 2
1. #43 Georgy Batrakov (BYU) def. Benito Suriano (UTAH) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
2. Dmytro Mamedov (UTAH) def. Spencer Smith (BYU) 6-4, 4-6, 10-4
3. #106 Patrick Kawka (BYU) def. Slim Hamza (UTAH) 6-3, 7-5
4. #67 Keaton Cullimore (BYU) def. Ace Matias (UTAH) 6-2, 7-5
5. Francis Sargeant (BYU) def. Ben Tasevac (UTAH) 6-1, 6-4
6. Devin Lane (UTAH) def. Michael Eraso (BYU) 6-3, 6-2
1. Georgy Batrakov/Patrick Kawka (BYU) def. Benito Suriano/Alejandro Medinilla (UTAH) 8-0
2. Spencer Smith/Francis Sargeant (BYU) def. Dmytro Mamedov/Ace Matias (UTAH) 8-1
3. Devin Lane/Slim Hamza (UTAH) def. Keaton Cullimore/Michael Eraso (BYU) 8-4
BYU (4-5); National ranking: 52
University of Utah (4-1)
Order of finish: Doubles (2, 3, 1); Singles (6, 5, 3, 4, 1, 2)