ALBUQUERQUE -- Led by the strong play of senior Damien Ward and sophomore Gert Vilms, the BYU men's tennis team defeated Utah 4-0 in the opening round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament Thursday in Albuquerque, N.M.
Ward and Vilms teamed up to win the number one doubles match 8-4 over David Mercier and Trevor Ferguson. The win improves Ward and Vilms, who are currently ranked 13th in the country, to 31-10 overall in doubles play. The win avenges a 9-8 loss Ward and Vilms suffered at the hands of Mercier and Ferguson April 5 in Provo.
The Cougars, the fourth-seed in the tournament, won the first two doubles matches to take the doubles point. They continued to do well as they won the first three singles matches to go ahead 4-0 and to earn the victory. The remaining matches were suspended because the Utes could not have tied the Cougars.
Ward and Vilms each won a singles match to help the cause as well. Ward defeated Ashley Dyer in number one singles 6-1, 7-5 and Vilms took the number three match 6-4, 7-6 (5) over Ferguson. The other singles win was at number two where freshman Carlos Lozano, last week's Mountain West Conference men's tennis player of the week, defeated Mercier 6-4, 7-5 to pick up his 29th win.
The Cougars will face top-seeded San Diego State Friday at 9 a.m. in a winner's bracket match. On Jan. 27, the Cougars defeated the Aztecs 4-3 on the road in the only meeting between the two teams this season. The Aztecs received a bye in the first round.
1. Damien Ward (BYU) def. Ashley Dyer, 6-1, 7-5
2. Carlos Lozano (BYU) def. David Mercier, 6-4, 7-5
3. Gert Vilms (BYU) def. Trevor Ferguson, 6-4, 7-6 (5)
4. Dave White (BYU) vs. Daniel Carlsson, suspended
5. Anton Rudjuk (BYU) vs. David Laverty, suspended
6. Jeff Olsen (BYU) vs. Kevin Zenger, suspended
1. Ward/Vilms (BYU) def. Mercier/Ferguson, 8-4
2. Lozano/Rudjuk (BYU) def. Nikolas Yip/Zenger, 9-8
3. White/Olsen (BYU) vs. Laverty/Dyer, suspended