(Photo by BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – Behind competitive play from a talented roster that included four seniors, BYU men’s tennis closed a successful 2016-17 campaign with a third-place conference finish.
The Cougars finished the season with a 13-12 overall record, 6-3 mark in WCC play, and 10-2 record at home. Five players earned weekly conference honors throughout the season while two were named to All-WCC teams and two to the All-WCC Academic Team.
Senior Jacob Sullivan led the team in singles victories and posted a 16-4 record while going 9-3 at the No. 2 slot and 6-2 in conference. Sullivan was named to the All-WCC First Team Singles. He was also named WCC Singles Player of the Week following victories against New Mexico and San Francisco.
Sullivan and senior Aidan Carrazedo were named to the All-WCC Second Team Doubles with a 5-2 record playing mostly at second doubles. Carrazedo led the team with 13 doubles wins.
Doubles duo John Pearce and Sullivan broke into the national rankings in February at No. 58. They were named WCC Doubles Team of the Week after defeating the No. 15 doubles team in the nation at Stanford.
Senior Keaton Cullimore was named WCC Singles Player of the Week after recording wins against Utah State and Santa Clara. He earned a doubles team of the week honor with junior John Pearce after the duo recorded a dominating win during BYU’s 4-0 victory over San Diego.
In his first season back from his two-year LDS mission, sophomore Matthew Pearce tallied 12 singles wins and added nine doubles victories. Pearce teamed up with senior Jeremy Bourgeois to take down Santa Clara at No. 1 doubles and earn WCC Doubles Team of the Week.
For the first time in four years, BYU defeated regional opponent Denver and 2017 WCC champion San Diego. The Cougars also defeated No. 42 Drake on the road. BYU saw tough competition from other nationally-ranked teams and prestigious programs, including No. 18 Stanford, No. 23 Oregon, Harvard and Cornell.
The Cougars were projected to finish fourth in conference standings and beat their projection to earn a third-place finish. BYU entered the WCC tournament as a No. 3 seed but came up short in a tough match against Santa Clara in the opening round.
In addition to strong performances on the court, the Cougars excelled in the classroom. Brothers John and Matthew Pearce were named to the WCC All-Academic Team after recording the highest grade point averages in the conference. John Pearce also received the Kimball Memorial Award at the annual Y awards for earning the highest GPA of any BYU student-athlete.
With a win over San Francisco on February 18, head coach Brad Pearce became BYU’s all-time winningest men’s tennis coach with 204 wins. Pearce passed his father, Wayne Pearce, who previously held the record with 203 wins between 1964-1979. Pearce finished the season with 210 total career wins.
In the most recent ITA rankings published in June, BYU earned a No. 5 spot in the Mountain Region. Sullivan closed out the season ranked ninth.
Next season, the Cougars return John Pearce, Matthew Pearce and Sam Tullis while welcoming back sophomores David Ball and Victor Brown from LDS missions. Freshmen Jake Tullis, Artsiom Ausiyevich and Ben Gajardo will also join the roster in addition to transfers Sean Hill from Wake Forest and Jeffrey Hsu from the University of New Orleans.