Chip Hand beat No. 85 Milan Milhailovic in singles competition Monday in Provo. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The atmosphere was electric at the BYU outdoor tennis courts Monday as the No. 57 Cougars sought to upset No. 13 Texas, last year's NCAA runner up. In the end, Texas walked away with the team victory, but two BYU seniors tallied singles wins and the team as a whole built confidence in front of one of the biggest crowds BYU men's tennis has seen this season.
"Our goal was to come and take it to them and I think we did that," BYU head coach Brad Pearce said after the match. "I think our guys feel like they're closer to those big wins than they previously thought. I think now it's just a matter of confidence. We're in the same league as Texas skill-wise and with this confidence we could get a few more of those big wins."
All three doubles matches were tight as BYU lost 8-6 on court nos. 1 and 2 and lost in a tiebreak on court no. 3. Seniors James Ludlow and Dominik Kaufhold gave the No. 48 doubles team in the nation a scare on court one, despite a sleepless night and severe stomach pains and sickness for Kaufhold the day before and during the match.
No. 94 Ludlow won his match against Dimitar Kutrovsky convincingly in straight sets on court no. 1 in the singles competition. Kaufhold had to default his match on court no. 2 due to illness. Chip Hand beat No. 85 Milan Milhailovic in three sets on court no. 3 and Jonathan Sanchez was two games away from a come-from-behind victory on court no. 4 against Rook Schellenberg.
Texas is the highest ranked visiting men's tennis team that has come to play at BYU since Pearce has been at the helm of the program. The altitude and Cougar fight create tough conditions that higher ranked teams take into account when creating their schedules. Pearce believes, though, that as his team continues to rise higher and higher in the national rankings that better teams will have to start making trips to Provo in upcoming seasons.
Monday marked the first home loss for the Cougars this season and the team's home record since 2004 falls to 18-2. The Cougars' next match will be at No. 27 Boise State on Mar. 22. BYU only has one more home match this season, which will be against in-state rival No. 61 Utah, the last match of the regular season. BYU is still the highest nationally ranked team in the Mountain West Conference.
No. 57 BYU vs. No. 13 Texas
Texas 5, BYU 2
1. No. 48 Dimitar Kutrovsky/Josh Zavala (UT) def. James Ludlow/Dominik Kaufhold (BYU) 8-6
2. Miguel Reyes Varela/Milan Milhailovic (UT) def. Chip Hand/Jonathan Sanchez (BYU) 8-6
3. Bernhard Deussner/Luis Diaz Barriga (UT) def. Cassidy Mears/Cale Planck (BYU) 8-7 (3)
Order of finish:
2, 1*, 3
(*clinches doubles point)
Texas wins doubles point
1. Ludlow (BYU) def. Kutrovsky (UT) 6-3, 6-3
2. Barriga (UT) def. Kaufhold (BYU) 6-3, 4-1 (ret.)
3. Hand (BYU) def. No. 85 Mihailovic (UT) 6-4, 6-7, 6-3
4. Rook Schellenberg (UT) def. Sanchez (BYU) 6-4, 4-6,7-5
5. Zavala (UT) def. Mears (BYU) 6-3, 6-1
6. Jonah Kane-West (UT) def. Planck (BYU) 6-2, 7-5
Order of finish:
2, 1, 5, 6*, 3, 4