(Photo by BYU Photo)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Despite victories from seniors Keaton Cullimore and Jacob Sullivan, BYU men’s tennis dropped its second match of the weekend to Cornell 4-2 at the Murr Center Tennis Courts on Saturday afternoon.
“I liked the way our guys dug in when their backs were against the wall,” BYU head coach Brad Pearce said. “We played better overall tennis today, but we still didn’t win. All the Ivy League schools have very good tennis programs, so it was a great opportunity to get better.”
BYU (2-3) struggled to match the Big Red’s pace as Cornell (3-0) quickly took control with victories at first and third doubles to claim the doubles point. At first doubles, Sullivan and John Pearce fell 6-1 to Chris Vrabel and Bernardo Casares followed by Cullimore and Derek Vincent’s 6-4 loss at No. 3 doubles to Lev Kazakov and Dylan Brown.
In singles play, Jeremy Bourgeois fell 6-1, 6-2 to Kazakov on court No. 1 and John Pearce dropped his match to Daniel Grunberger, 6-3, 6-4 at fourth singles. With the Cougars facing a 3-0 deficit, Sullivan fought back at No. 5 singles for a close 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over Pietro Rimondini. The point wasn’t enough, however, as Casares clinched the match for Cornell, pulling out a three-set win over freshman Sam Tullis 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
Cullimore upset No. 62 Chris Vrabel in a three-set tiebreaker 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(6) at No. 2 singles to claim the second and final point for BYU.
BYU hosts three regional opponents next weekend at the Indoor Tennis Courts in Provo. The Cougars face Denver on Friday, Feb. 3, at 5:30 p.m. MST before competing in a doubleheader against Montana State and Northern Arizona on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively.
Cornell 4 BYU 2
Vrabel/Casares (Cornell) def. Sullivan/J. Pearce (BYU) 6-1
Bourgeois/M. Pearce (BYU) vs. Sinclair/Sikka (Cornell) 5-5 DNF
Kazakov/Brown (Cornell) def. Cullimore/D. Vincent (BYU) 6-4
Order of finish: (1,3)
1. Kazakov (Cornell) def. Bourgeois (BYU) 6-1, 6-2
2. Cullimore (BYU) def. Vrabel (Cornell) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(6)
3. M. Pearce (BYU) vs. Sinclair (Cornell) 6-2, 6-7 (4-1) DNF
4. Grunberger (Cornell) def. J. Pearce (BYU) 6-3, 6-4
5. Jake Sullivan (BYU) def. Rimondini (Cornell) 7-6(5), 6-4
6. Casares (Cornell) def. Tullis (BYU) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
Order of finish: (1,4,5,6,2)