PROVO -- After surprising the Mountain West Conference by winning the tournament as a four seed, then getting a surprise invitation to host the first two rounds as the lowest seed in their region, the BYU men's tennis team almost came up with another surprise on Friday afternoon by defeating 14th-ranked Cal-Berkeley, but came up short, losing 4-1, in a close match at the BYU Outdoor Tennis Courts.
After getting the doubles point, Cal won the first three singles, taking a 3-1 lead. But, in the last three singles matches, the Cougars were up at the two spot and the five spot, before Anton Rudjuk lost at the four spot in a tie-breaker in the third set, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3).
"We gave it our all and we just didn't quite get it done," said BYU coach Jim Osborne. "Cal is solid all the way down the line. We knew coming in that we would have to play great tennis to beat them and we almost did. We played well, but we needed to play great and they just played better."
The Cougars started the match with an exciting victory in doubles. BYU's 32nd-ranked doubles team of Gert Vilms and Carlos Lozano defeated Cal's 36th-ranked doubles team of Adrian Barnes and Scott Kintz, 8-4. Then, with Cal winning at the three spot, the point came down to the two spot. BYU's Jeff Olsen and Jeff Harbach took the match with Ben Miles and Balazs Veress to the tie-breaker before winning the match and the doubles point, 8-8 (9-7).
"The doubles point gave us a big high to start," said BYU coach Jim Osborne. "Playing the doubles point first is a great system. Our strategy came so close, we just needed tomorrow's weather, 89 degrees instead of 80."
Vilms and Lozano will still be making the trip to Athens, Georgia to compete in singles and doubles. Vilms qualified in singles and Vilms and Lozano qualified in doubles from the Mountain Region. Cal will face Fresno State on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the BYU Outdoor Tennis Courts to see who will advance from the Mountain Region to the field of 16.
NCAA Mountain Regional Results:
#67 BYU 1 #14 California-Berkeley 4
BYU wins the doubles point
#1 Vilms/Lozano (32) vs. Barnes/Kintz (36) 8-4 BYU
#2 Olsen/Harbach vs. Fruttero/Kowalczyk 8-8 (9-7) BYU
#3 Nyman/Stohl vs. Miles/Veress 8-6 CAL
Cal wins the first four singles to take the match, 4-1
#1 Gert Vilms vs. John Paul Fruttero 6-2, 6-3 CAL
#2 Carlos Lozano vs. Adrian Barnes DNF
#3 Eric Nyman vs. Balazs Veress 6-2, 6-4 CAL
#4 Anton Rudjuk vs. Robert Kowalczyk 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) CAL
#5 Jeff Harbach vs. Scott Kintz DNF
#6 Matt Stohl vs. Ben Miles 6-2, 6-1 CAL
#20 Fresno State 4 #47 Wake Forest 3
Fresno State Wake Forest
#1 Luczak/Mullins (5) vs. Munoz/Murray 8-4 FSU
#2 Fustar/Cooper (35) vs. Loewenthal/Brendon 8-8 (3) FSU
#3 Menichini/Krohn vs. Bere/Kaufmann 8-4 WFU
Fresno State Wake Forest
#1 Peter Luczak (3) vs. Raul Munoz 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 FSU
#2 Nick Fustar vs. Mike Murray 6-4, 7-6 (0) WFU
#3 David Mullins vs. David Loewenthal 6-4, 6-3 WFU
#4 Sean Cooper vs. David Bere 6-2, 7-5 WFU
#5 Alex Menichini vs. Trent Brendon 6-0, 6-3 FSU
#6 Alex Krohn vs. Justin Kaufmann 6-3, 7-6 (4) FSU
Notes -- Doubles point proved to be the deciding factor, as Loewenthal and Brendon took Fustar and Cooper to an exciting tiebreaker before winning the doubles point. The match came down to Luczak and Munoz, where Munoz took the No. 3 player in the country to three sets, before eventually losing.