Senior Jose Lechuga kept the Cougars close with a three-set win. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
SALT LAKE CITY -- After playing great tennis all week, the BYU men's tennis team (11-16, 4-2) dropped its last match of the season in a narrow defeat, losing 4-3 to the No. 59 San Diego State Aztecs (13-7, 5-0) Saturday.
The balls bounced BYU's way in the early going, and BYU used its newly arranged doubles teams to pick up the doubles point. Nima Roshan joined forces with long-time doubles partner Jose Lechuga to beat Stephan Timu and Anthony Gomez in an exciting 9-8 decision. James Ludlow and Dominik Kaufhold, who played as doubles partners last year, also squeaked out a 9-8 victory.
The Cougars couldn't keep the momentum going, though, and the Aztecs proved their team's strength is in its singles play. Just a day after rallying against New Mexico in a match that saw them take five-of-six singles points, San Diego State went through the top two-thirds of BYU's order to get the points they needed for the win. But it wasn't easy, as two of those matches, and three of the six went the full three sets. The Cougars kept it close behind the play of Senior Jose Lechuga and Junior Chip Hand. Lechuga's match went three sets as well, with Lechuga losing set one 6-4, but winning the next two 6-1 and 6-3. Hand didn't need quite as much to do his damage, winning in straights 6-2, 6-2.
But in the end it wasn't enough, and the Aztecs inched by with the 4-3 win.
The Cougars went into conference play with the attitude they had a clean slate and they were beginning a new season. Behind that mentality they posted an impressive 4-2 conference season, and now wait to find out whom they will face in the Mountain West Conference Tournament. The tournament will be held April 28-30 in San Diego, Calif. Match times TBA.
SDSU 4 BYU 3
1. Christian Groh (SDSU) def. Nima Roshan (BYU); 6-0, 6-1
2. Markus Dickhardt (SDSU) def. James Ludlow (BYU); 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
3. Benedikt Stronk (SDSU) def. Dominik Kaufhold (BYU); 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
4. Stephan Timu (SDSU) def. Ivan Kokurin (BYU); 6-1, 6-2
5. Jose Lechuga (BYU) def. Anthony Gomez (SDSU); 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
6. Christian Hand (BYU) def. Robert Sabo (SDSU); 6-2, 6-2
1. James Ludlow/ Dominik Kaufhold (BYU) def. Benedikt Stronk/ Markus Dickhardt (SDSU); 9-8(5)
2. Nima Roshan/ Jose Lechuga (BYU) def. Stephan Timu/ Anthony Gomez (SDSU); 9-8
3. Christian Groh/ Robert Sabo (SDSU) def. Christian Hand/ Sanchez (BYU); 8-4