PROVO -- The Deseret First Duel will resume on Saturday as the No. 40 BYU women's tennis team (13-10, 5-2 MWC) heads to Salt Lake City, ending its regular-season competition against in-state rival Utah. The women hope to improve on BYU's current 28-24.5 lead in the Duel series, especially after the men's team suffered a close loss to the Utes in Provo last weekend.
Leading the Cougars will be senior Anastasia Surkova, the nation's 63rd-ranked singles player. Surkova will likely face off against Utah's No. 54 Elizabeth Ferris, who defeated the Russian native 7-6, 6-4 in Provo last season.
The Utes fell to 13-8 overall and 4-3 in Mountain West Conference play after being swept 7-0 by TCU last Saturday. Ferris, together with fellow senior Emily Kwok, have teamed up to form the No. 41 doubles pair in the country. In their last outing, the duo pulled a major upset over TCU's No. 12-ranked Macall Harkins and Anna Sydorska.
Saturday marks the first meeting between Utah and BYU women's tennis since the inception of the Deseret First Duel. The Duel uses a system that awards points to the winner of each head-to-head competition between the two schools. A team trophy is awarded to the individual winner of each sport -- football, basketball, softball, etc. Points won by the individual sports count toward each school's overall total. At the conclusion of each school year, a granite traveling trophy will be awarded to the overall rivalry series champion.
With a win over Utah, the Cougars, who are currently in fourth place in the MWC standings, have a chance to move up and make it a three-way tie for second place with UNLV and New Mexico. Doing so would improve BYU's seeding heading into the conference tournament on April 23-26.
Saturday's match is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. MT at the George S. Eccles Tennis Center.