Cougars to Host Utah State and Denver

After an impressive preseason the BYU men's tennis team is poised for the 2004 season to begin as it plays host to Denver and Utah State this week. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The BYU men's tennis team hopes to continue it's winning ways as it hosts the Aggies of Utah State and the Pioneers of Denver in a double header Friday in the Indoor Tennis Facility.

The Cougars will first host Utah State at 2 p.m. followed by the match against Denver scheduled for 6 p.m.

In their last meeting, the Cougars posted two big wins against the two opponents. BYU defeated the Aggies 6-1 and pushed the Pioneers to a 4-3 win to improve its 2003 campaign to a 6-3 record.

"Both Utah State and Denver will be a good match up for us," head coach Brad Pearce said. "Both teams have a lot of strength in their line up. This week will show us how good we are."

Coach Pearce recently added three new recruits to the Cougar line up. Ian Fillmore from Tulsa, Oklahoma; Dominik Kaufhold from Ratingen, Germany and Ivan Kokurin from Tushkent, Uzbekistan all signed with BYU in December and will be competing this season.

"We have a good team and we've bettered ourselves with the three new additions," Pearce said. "We will just play tough and try to get better. We might even see some action from the new recruits this week."

Pearce will look for strength from senior Erik Nyman (No. 80) who posted a key win over Lucas Bouton of Utah State to highlight the BYU Invitational in September.

The Cougars not only bring strength to the singles circuit, they should be tough in the doubles slot as well. Teammates Jose Lechuga and Nima Roshan had an impressive preseason and are currently ranked 22 in doubles in the ITA. However, Lechuga will not play this week, he recently suffered a broken ankle during practice. It is not determined how long Leghuga will be out.

The injury to Lechuga has caused coach Pearce to make some changes in the doubles teams.

"That injury really hurts us," Pearce said. "We've had to jockey our doubles combos over the last couple of days to find the right combination. It's important to have just the right chemistry to be successful."

Coach Pearce is expected to announce the doubles teams the day of the match.