The BYU men's tennis team is preparing for its quarterfinal match against UNLV on Thursday. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The BYU men's and women's tennis teams will travel to Fort Worth, Texas as the Mountain West Conference Tournament gets underway at the Bayard H. Freidman Tennis Center on Thursday. Both Cougar teams enter the tournament as the No. 5 seeds in their respective draws, with the men facing No. 74 UNLV and the women taking on No. 56 Utah.
After beginning conference play with a perfect 5-0 record, BYU's No. 47 women's team (13-11, 5-3 MWC) suffered losses in the last three league matches of the season; with its most recent coming against in-state rival Utah this past Saturday. The Cougars will have a chance to redeem themselves as the two teams compete for the second time in less than one week.
"We're really excited to play Utah again this week and see if we can play better," said women's head coach Craig Manning. "Our team is anxious to get out there."
Entering this year's championships, the BYU women's team has captured the title crown three of the past four seasons, and is looking to repeat. Should BYU defeat Utah, it would move on to Friday's semifinals against the winner of TCU's match vs. either Air Force or Wyoming.
Despite its 2-4 conference record, the men's team is excited to participate in the tournament as well, hoping to see similar results to last season. In 2007 the Cougars entered the championships as the five-seed with an identical 2-4 record. That team went on to upset No 55 New Mexico and No. 47 San Diego State, the regular-season champion, to secure second place in the tournament.
The Cougars are slated to take on fourth-seed, and defending MWC Champions, UNLV, who defeated BYU 4-3 earlier in the season. The winner of that match will face the top-seeded host TCU in the semifinals.
"The last time we played [UNLV] we had a chance to win the doubles point, but weren't able to pull it out," said men's head coach Brad Pearce. "That will be a key factor this time around. We have to play a complete match in both singles and doubles."
Both matches will take place on Thursday, with the BYU women facing Utah at 2 p.m. CT and the men following at 4 p.m. CT. The winners of the men's and women's MWC Tournaments receive the conference's automatic bids to their respective NCAA Tournaments.
For live stats and updated results on the tournament click here
2008 MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE MEN'S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP PAIRINGS
Thursday, April 24
10 a.m. CT Quarterfinal Match #1 No. 3 Utah vs. No. 6 San Diego State
1 p.m. CT Quarterfinal Match #2 No. 2 New Mexico vs. No. 7 Air Force
4 p.m. CT Quarterfinal Match #3 No. 4 UNLV vs. No. 5 BYU
Friday, April 25
10 a.m. CT Semifinal Match #1 Utah/SDSU Winner vs. UNM/AFA Winner
2 p.m. CT Semifinal Match #2 No. 1 TCU vs. UNLV/BYU Winner
Saturday, April 26
10 a.m. CT Championship Match