Freshman A.J. Young's singles win against Cal Poly clinched the win for BYU on Friday. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The BYU men's tennis team battled through sickness and physical exhaustion to come away with back-to-back wins against Cal Poly and Montana State on Friday. The Cougars narrowly defeated Cal Poly 4-3 in the first match of the day, followed by a strong 6-1 victory over Montana State. With the wins BYU improves to 8-5 on the season and 33-2 at home since the 2005 season.
"[These matches] got us back on the winning track," said BYU head coach Brad Pearce. "They forced our guys to dig deeper than they ever had before. Their threshold for endurance and pain increased and that builds long-lasting success."
To begin the afternoon, Cassidy Mears and Evan Urbina lost the first doubles match, 8-6, while Daniel Hwang and Thomas Shubert hung on to post an 8-6 win over Andrew Gerst and Nick Berger. Playing at the No. 1 position, Thomas Young and Jonathan Sanchez's 9-7 loss clinched the doubles point for Cal Poly.
Mears tied things up for BYU after a 6-3, 7-6 singles win over Robert Foy. Hwang, Sanchez and Shubert were all forced into intense three-set matches at the top three lineup positions. After losing the first set, Sanchez fought back to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Down 3-2 heading into the final two matches, BYU looked to Urbina and A.J. Young to clinch the win. Urbina's straight set victory tied things up and shifted the crowd's attention onto Young. The freshman dropped the first set, 6-2, but continued to battle, winning the following two sets and securing the victory for BYU.
"[A.J. Young] turned it around and loosened up after that first set," said Pearce. "He did a nice job blocking out the extreme importance of the situation and played well. I'm thrilled for him. He proved that if you dig in and fight, anything can happen."
After a short break, the Cougars were back in action against Montana State. This time BYU came away with the doubles point after wins by Hwang and Shubert, and Mears and Urbina.
Kyle McDonald defeated Sanchez at the No. 1 singles position to tie things up, but BYU would not back down. The Cougars won the final five matches, proving their endurance. Shubert's impressive 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win came while battling flu-like symptoms.
"We've been talking since the beginning of the year about how it's not how well you're playing, but with how much heart," said Pearce. "We knew we'd be tired going into the Montana State match, but we had to come out and find a way. I'm really proud of our team."
The Cougars will host another doubleheader on Friday when they take on Pacific and Portland.
Cal Poly - 3
Brigham Young University - 4
March 7, 2008
1. J. Sanchez (BYU) def. A. Gerst (CP) 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
2. D. Young (CP) def. T. Shubert (BYU) 6-7, 6-3, 6-4
3. D. Jacobs (CP) def. D. Hwang (BYU) 1-6, 6-4, 6-3
4. C. Mears (BYU) def. R. Foy (CP) 6-3, 7-6
5. E. Urbina (BYU) def. B. Wardman (CP) 6-4, 6-4
6. A. Young (BYU) def. A. Sonesson (CP) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish: 4, 3, 1, 2, 5, 6
1. Young/Foy (CP) def. T. Young/Sanchez (BYU) 9-7
2. Hwang/Shubert (BYU) def. Gerst/Berger (CP) 8-6
3. Jacobs/Wardman (CP) def. Mears/Urbina (BYU) 8-6
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
Montana State University - 1
Brigham Young University - 6
March 7, 2008
1. K. McDonald (MSU) def. J. Sanchez (BYU) 6-2, 6-0
2. T. Shubert (BYU) def. D. Turzanski (MSU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
3. D. Hwang (BYU) def. J. Dybala (MSU) 6-2, 7-6
4. C. Mears (BYU) def. F. Keyes (MSU) 6-2, 7-5
5. E. Urbina (BYU) def. J. Hauck (MSU) 6-4, 6-4
6. A. Young (BYU) def. D. Kovas (MSU) 6-2, 6-2
Order of Finish: 1, 4, 3, 2, 5, 6
1. Dybala/McDonald (MSU) def. Sanchez/T. Young (BYU) 8-6
2. Shubert/ Hwang (BYU) def. Keyes/Perkins (MSU) 8-4
3. Mears/Urbina (BYU) def. Hauck/Turzanski (MSU) 8-5
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2