Men Host Season Opener

Freshman Thomas Shubert is one of six freshman preparing for BYU's matches against Utah State and Weber State. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The No. 68 BYU men's tennis team will kick off its 2008 season when it hosts a doubleheader against Utah State and Weber State on Friday at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts. The Cougars hope to continue their recent success playing at home with a record of 20-2 in Provo over the past three seasons.

"Coming back from the holiday break, we don't have a lot of time to prepare," said BYU head coach Brad Pearce. "We got right back into it and emphasized that these are two teams that we can't take lightly. We're concentrating on working hard, but also performing at our best because we're loose and having fun."

The Cougars have faced opponents from both schools throughout the fall season, including the Utah Invitational, where BYU's duo of Cassidy Mears and Jonathan Sanchez defeated Weber State's Sascha Kiehne and Fabio Mancarella to win the doubles title.

Returning only two players from the 2007 season, the Cougars have a young team with little experience playing at the collegiate level. BYU's coaching staff has used examples set by national sports teams to emphasize the importance of focusing on one match at a time.

"We've talked about playing as hard at the beginning of matches as we do at the end," said Pearce. "What I always try to do with incoming players is help them to improve technically and then also help them improve their shot selection and decision making. As I see how they perform, it will become more apparent what individual coaching they will need."

BYU's match against Utah State will begin at 12 p.m. and the match against Weber State will start at 5:30 p.m. Admission to all matches is free, along with pizza which will be provided for fans. BYU "Y Lot" parking is available to visitors after 4 p.m.