Spencer Smith clinched BYU's semifinal match against San Diego State with a win on Court 3.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Even weather delays couldn’t stop the No. 36 BYU men’s tennis team from continuing domination at the top of the Mountain West Conference by defeating San Diego State 4-1 in Friday’s semifinals.
“Once again, it was a really hard-fought, tough match,” BYU head coach Brad Pearce said. “We were behind when we were outside in really windy conditions, but our guys battled back to win at No. 2 and at No. 1 we pulled it out in the tiebreaker. I think the guys just took that momentum and got out early in singles and were able to get decisive wins and get off the court. Spencer had a tough first set, but I think he figured it out and got up early in the second and third to clinch the win. We’re excited and thrilled to play for the championship tomorrow. We hope the Cougar nation to be thinking about us and cheering for us.”
The win pushed BYU’s record to 20-5 (6-0 MWC). The Cougars already collected the regular season MWC Championship, their second consecutive MWC title, and have their sights on the one conference title that eluded them last season—the conference tournament title. BYU faces TCU in the final match Saturday at 2 p.m.
The match started off with a scare, as No. 1 seeded BYU dropped its first doubles match on Court 3 to No. 5 seeded SDSU (5-16, 2-4 MWC). Evan Urbina and Patrick Kawka stepped up for a win at the No. 2 position, downing Andre Feliz and Shiva Sangwan 8-5. With doubles tied, Thomas Shubert and Georgy Batrakov charged from behind to take the last match for BYU with a 9-8 win against Tim Schulz van Endert and Javier Pulgar, putting BYU ahead 1-0.
Batrakov kept the energy high going into singles play with a rapid straight-set victory against Pulgar (6-2, 6-0). MWC Freshman of the Year No. 109 Kawka increased the Cougars’ lead to 3-0 with a 6-3, 6-2 win against Schulz van Endert and sophomore Spencer Smith advanced BYU to the final match by defeating Feliz in three sets (2-6, 6-1, 6-2).
SDSU scored its only point with Giovani Vaglietti’s defeat of Urbina at the No. 1 position (6-2, 7-6).
Shubert led 3-2 at position No. 5 and Roman Warias was tied 1-1 at No. 6 when the match finished.
Saturday’s victory was BYU’s third win against San Diego State this season, after defeating the Aztecs 6-1 in the ITA Kickoff Weekend and 5-2 in conference play.
The last time the Cougars advanced to the MWC tournament final was in 2007. The team lost to UNLV 4-1.
Saturday’s match will be played at 2 p.m. in Colorado Springs, Colo., at Air Force’s tennis facilities due to weather issues in Fort Collins.
No. 36 BYU vs. San Diego State
No. 1 seed BYU-4 No. 5 seed SDSU-1
1. Thomas Shubert/Georgy Batrakov (BYU) def. Tim Schulz V Endert/Javier Pulgar (SDSU) 9-8
2. Evan Urbina/Patrick Kawka (BYU) def. Andre Feliz/Shiva Sangwan (SDSU) 8-5
3. Giovanni Vaglietti/Jose Sierra Short (SDSU) def. Spencer Smith/Roman Warias (BYU) 8-3
Order of finish: 3,2,1
1. Giovanni Vaglietti (SDSU) def. Evan Urbina (BYU) 6-2, 7-6
2. Georgy Batrakov (BYU) def. Javier Pulgar (SDSU) 6-2, 6-0
3. Spencer Smith (BYU) def. Andre Feliz (SDSU) 2-6, 6-1, 6-2
4. No. 109 Patrick Kawka (BYU) def. Tim Schulz V Endert (SDSU) 6-3, 6-2
5. Thomas Shubert (BYU) def. Juan Florez (SDSU) 3-2, susp.
6. Jose Sierra Short (SDSU) vs. Roman Warias (BYU) 1-1, susp.
Order of finish: 2,4,1,3