(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
Ending its final year in the Mountain West Conference at the top, the BYU men’s tennis team secured both the conference regular season and conference tournament titles and went undefeated against MWC foes for the second year in a row.
The team finished with a 21-6 record after going undefeated for almost two months, a 14-match winning streak, and receiving a No. 36 national ranking to end the season.
Three players—Georgy Batrakov, Evan Urbina and Spencer Smith—were named to the All-MWC Singles Team and two—Batrakov and Thomas Shubert—to the All-MWC Doubles Team.
Team captain Urbina ended his BYU career with 98 singles victories, earning the third-most career wins in school history and topping last season’s team captain Cassidy Mears, who finished with 94.
Urbina went 29-15 in singles and received two MWC Player of the Week awards for wins against Utah State, Weber State and Montana State.
MWC and Mountain Region Freshman of the Year Patrick Kawka made significant additions to the BYU record books in his first year as a Cougar. He recorded a 12th-best 22 doubles victories with Urbina in the career records category with a seventh-best in doubles winning percentage (.629). In single season records, Kawka placed sixth in singles victories with 31 wins and 10th in singles winning percentage with .775. His 22 doubles wins with Urbina earned the duo fifth place in season doubles victories.
Kawka was 31-9 in singles and 22-13 in doubles with Urbina, earning him one MWC Player of the Week award.
With a 22-3 singles record, junior Georgy Batrakov set a new single season winning percentage record, blasting past Andy Noorda’s 1985 record (.842) with a .880.
Playing at the No. 2 singles position for most of the season, Batrakov went undefeated in conference play and had a 17-match winning streak lasting from January to April. Batrakov received four MWC Player of the Week honors for his role on the team.
Thomas Shubert also put his name on the Top-10 Career Records list with the fifth-highest number of singles wins at 87.
Shubert and Smith teamed up to advance to the Mountain Region Championships doubles final, narrowly defeating teammates Kawka and Urbina 9-7 in a match played on BYU’s home court. The match marked the first time a BYU doubles team won the region title, as the final matches are usually scheduled for Sundays which forces BYU participants to default. Because of the unique situation of having two BYU teams competing for the title, the Mountain Region allowed a venue change for the doubles final, which was played the following Tuesday in front of a packed house at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts.
The win gave Shubert and Smith an opportunity to compete in the ITA National Indoor Championships at the site of the US Open.
The BYU coaching staff received conference, region and national acknowledgements, starting with Pearce’s winning of the 2010 USTA/ITA Campus and Community Outreach Award. Pearce also received the Profession Tennis Registry’s Coach Jim Verdieck College Coach of the Year Award in February. After winning both the conference regular season and championship titles, coaches named Pearce the MWC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.
Assistant coach Zack Warren got a nod from the Mountain Region, who named him Assistant Coach of the Year.
Going into the 2011-2012 season, the Cougars lose three key players in the lineup—Urbina, Shubert and Roman Warias, who graduated as a junior. The team looks forward to four talented recruits to continue a BYU legacy of success in its West Coast Conference debut.