Freshman Daniel Hwang's singles performance clinched a win for the Cougars as they defeated No. 54 SDSU. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The BYU men's tennis team pulled out a close 4-3 win over No. 54 San Diego State on Thursday after three freshmen posted singles wins to close the match. Thomas Shubert, Daniel Hwang and A.J. Young's victories on courts two, five and six, respectively, helped the Cougars improve to 14-9 on the season and 2-2 in Mountain West Conference play. The win also marks the first time BYU has defeated a ranked opponent this season.
"I'm really proud of our guys today," said BYU head coach Brad Pearce. "Our backs were against the wall and all of those guys knew they had to win. It was a tough battle that could have gone either way, but it bounced our way today."
The Cougars jumped out to an early lead after winning the doubles point. Both Cassidy Mears and Evan Urbina, and Hwang and Shubert recorded 8-3 wins over the Aztecs. On court one, Jonathan Sanchez and Young were tied at six games all with Bartosz Golas and Juan Gomez. Forced into an early tie-breaker, the Cougars eventually fell 7-6 (4). BYU is now 9-2 on the season when winning the doubles point.
Momentum shifted in the Aztecs favor as singles play began, with SDSU capturing the first sets in the top four positions. After losing 6-1 in his first set, Mears kept it close in the second, narrowly losing in a second-set tiebreak. Sanchez also stepped his play up in the second set, but fell 6-3, 7-5 to Matan Shitrit. With a 7-6, 6-2 loss for Urbina on court four, the Cougars' hope rested on the outcome of the final three matches.
At the No. 2 position, Shubert lost a close first set to SDSU's Golaz, only to come back and post a 6-4 advantage to force the only third set of the day. Down 3-1 early, the freshman won four straight games before going on to win 6-7, 6-4, 6-4. Young came out quickly and took care of business, pulling the Cougars to within one point with his 6-2, 6-2 victory.
With the cheers of his teammates behind him, Hwang pulled out a tough 6-4, 6-4 win over Andre Feliz on court five to clinch the overall victory for the Cougars.
"Shubert gave us a huge momentum shift," said Pearce. "It also really helped that A.J. [Young] went out there, got a decisive win and got off the court quickly. Then Daniel [Hwang]'s first set win really got the momentum rolling."
BYU will continue conference play throughout the weekend as it is scheduled to take on New Mexico on Friday and Utah on Saturday. Both matches will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the BYU Outdoor Tennis Courts, if weather permits. Admission is free and BYU "Y Lot" parking is available to visitors after 4 p.m. on weekdays. On both Friday and Saturday, fans can enjoy free burgers, chips and drinks. Cosmo will also be on hand supporting the Cougar team.
BYU def. No. 54 SDSU, 4-3
April 10, 2008 - Provo, Utah
1. Golas/Gomez (SDSU) def. Sanchez/A. Young (BYU) 7-6(4)
2. Hwang/Shubert (BYU) def. Ceban/Schulz van Endert (SDSU) 8-3
3. Mears/Urbina (BYU) def. Feliz/Shitrit (SDSU) 8-3
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
1. M. Shitrit (SDSU) def. J. Sanchez (BYU) 6-3, 7-5
2. T. Shubert (BYU) def. B. Golas (SDSU) 6-7, 6-4, 6-4
3. A. Ceban (SDSU) def. C. Mears (BYU) 6-1, 7-6(4)
4. J. Gomez (SDSU) def. E. Urbina (BYU) 7-6(6), 6-2
5. D. Hwang (BYU) def. A. Feliz (SDSU) 6-4, 6-4
6. A. Young (BYU) def. J. Colman (SDSU) 6-2, 6-2
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 4, 2, 6, 5