Netters return home for doubleheader

Senior Georgy Batrakov looks to garner success this weekend after two tough losses against ranked opponents last weekend. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – Looking to turn its season around, the No. 49 BYU men’s tennis team returns home to take on Idaho State and Montana State in a doubleheader Friday at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts.

“To keep it simple; we’re looking forward to getting wins,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “Our record easily could have been 4-1 at this point. We had opportunities against UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly and Vanderbilt to win. We instituted early morning workouts starting this morning. We’re going to continue that and give our guys some time and a little extra attention and see if that will improve their confidence. Hopefully that will translate into some wins.”

Coming off tough losses to No. 36 Vanderbilt and No. 52 Cal Poly, the Cougars (1-4) look to break their four-game losing streak this weekend.

BYU owns an all-time winning record against both Big Sky Conference teams. The Cougars are 17-5 against the Idaho State Bengals (1-2) and have only dropped one match to the Montana State Bobcats (1-2) in their fourteen meetings.

BYU last faced Idaho State on Feb. 18, 2009 when the Cougars topped the Bengals, 7-0, at home. In its last matchup, BYU swept Montana State, 7-0, on Feb. 3, 2011.

“Every college team in the country has good players,” Pearce said. “I think the key is to be ready to play at every single position. I feel confident going in but that doesn’t mean we’re going to take anyone for granted. Hopefully we can right this ship and get it on the right keel.”

Idaho State is entering Provo after a 3-4 loss to Montana, Jan. 27.

With a 2-3 record in dual matches, No. 43 Georgy Batrakov looks for success at the No. 1 singles position for BYU after falling to two ranked opponents last weekend. Charles Norman is 0-2 at the No. 1 singles position for Idaho State.

Idaho State’s Krzyzstof Stempien and Andres Coello are undefeated at the No. 4 and 6 positions, respectively. 

BYU has two other ranked players in No. 67 Keaton Cullimore and No. 106 Patrick Kawka. Playing at the No. 4 position, freshman Cullimore is 12-7 overall and 2-3 in dual matches. Sophomore Kawka is 14-7 and 1-0 at the No. 2 position, and 2-2 when playing on court three.

Junior Spencer Smith leads the team in wins with a 16-4 record. Smith plays at the No. 2 position for the Cougars.

Montana State travels to Utah to face Utah State Thursday before heading to Provo Friday.

BYU kicks off Friday play against Idaho State at noon before taking on Montana State at 5:30 p.m. MST.

As always at home matches, pizza and prizes will be provided. Spectators may park in the “Y Lot” parking lots to the northwest and southwest of the courts after 4 p.m. Admission is free.