Senior James Ludlow looks to lead the Cougars over Montana State and Texas at home. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Saturday will be a day of record for the BYU No. 57 men's and No. 29 women's tennis teams as the men square off at home against Montana State in preparation to host No. 13 Texas on Monday. The women's team will also host No. 2 Notre Dame in the afternoon.
The No. 57 ranking is the highest that the men's team has had since head coach Brad Pearce has been at the helm. The surging Cougars have won four of their last six matches and are undefeated at home this season. In fact, the team is 17-1 at home dating back to the 2004 season. The last match BYU hosted featured senior James Ludlow upsetting the No. 19 player in the nation in three sets, winning conference player-of-the-week honors for his performance, and a 5-2 win over No. 60 Denver.
Monday's match against No. 13 Texas is the match the Cougars's have had circled on their calendar since the start of the season. The Longhorns were last year's runner-up to the national title and the Cougars are hungry for a chance at beating the best.
"These will be our first matches outdoors at home this season and we feel like Saturday will be a good warm up match to get us ready for an upset against Texas," Pearce said. "We haven't had as high a ranked team as Texas is come and play us at home for a long time and we're excited for the opportunity. We feel like the crowd support is a big factor in our home record. Tennis fans should look forward to a great match on Saturday and a better one on Monday."
In order to increase that fan support, the men's tennis team provides free pizza and donuts to all in attendance at every match. As a special treat for tennis fans, the team will also give away an autographed photograph of Anna Kournikova and an autographed T-shirt from Pete Sampras in a free raffle after Monday's match against Texas. The autographed prizes were donated by BYU alum Lonnie Nielson, owner of the professional world tennis team the Sacramento Capitals.
The BYU women defeated Rice on Thursday at home with a score of 7-0, the team's first sweep of the season. Their match on Saturday will likely be the women's team's toughest match of the season as the Cougars' play host to No. 2 Notre Dame at 4 p.m.
The women's match will be preceded by the men's match which starts at 11 a.m. Parking and admission to both matches are free. The matches will take place at the outdoor courts, weather permitting. In case there is inclement weather, the matches will take place at the indoor facility adjacent to the outdoor courts.