First Conference Matches of the Year

BYU opens conference play on the road this week.

PROVO -- After downing Loyola Marymount last week, the No. 32 BYU men’s tennis team will open conference play in a whirlwind road trip. The Cougars will face Air Force Thursday in Colorado and New Mexico Saturday in Albuquerque.

Junior Evan Urbina played at the No. 1 position for the first time this year in the 7-0 sweep of LMU and earned Men’s Tennis Player of the Week honors for the third time this season for his performances. The Cougars fell one spot in the rankings to No. 32 after dropping a match to UCSB Friday. After its last outing, BYU is 15-4 on the season.

Thursday, the Cougars will take on Air Force (10-5). The Falcons lost to Illinois State and Pacific 6-1 in their last two matches. BYU swept AFA in San Diego when the teams met last year in conference play and leads the all-time record 21-3.

The Cougars will then travel to face defending conference tournament champion New Mexico, which currently owns a 5-7 record. The Lobos defeated BYU 4-3 in 2009 but trail the overall record 19-22. UNM blanked Northern Arizona last week and will face conference opponent Utah Thursday before taking on the Cougars.

First serve Thursday is set for 2 p.m. at the Cadet Gym in Colorado Springs, Colo. Play is scheduled for the outdoor courts, weather permitting. The match against New Mexico begins at 1 p.m. at the Lobo Tennis Club Saturday.