No. 4 BYU will play No. 5 San Diego State Thursday in the MWC Championship. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The No. 71 BYU women’s tennis team will head to Las Vegas for the Mountain West Conference Championship this week. The Cougars (9-12, 5-3 MWC) will go into the tournament as the No. 4 seed and face No. 5 San Diego State in the quarterfinals Thursday.
“I’m happy that we’ve been able to lift our level of play at the end of the season,” BYU coach Joey Johnson said. “The possibility of what we can do together is what I’m most excited about.”
BYU began conference matches with a loss to the Utes, who earned the No. 1 seed after going a perfect 8-0 against MWC opponents. The Cougars then beat San Diego State 5-2 at home and fell 4-3 in a close match to then-No. 29 UNLV. BYU recorded two wins and one loss in a three-day road trip to Colorado and Wyoming, and the team finished the season with back-to-back wins over New Mexico and TCU.
“The goal is always to peak at the end of the season,” Johnson said. “It’s been a long, steady process, but our last match of the season was our best match of the season.”
The first obstacle on the road to the championship is a tough No. 75 San Diego State squad. The Aztecs (12-10, 4-4) have two ranked singles players in No. 55 Julia Trunk and No. 92 Alicia Aguilar. Both players fell in straight sets at the Nos. 1 and 2 positions, respectively, when they faced BYU in the regular season. SDSU squeezed in two more matches after conference play ended, defeating No. 66 San Diego 5-2 and UC San Diego.
“We need to get out there, stay with it and keep pushing forward,” Johnson said. “If you’re playing your best tennis across the board, everything else falls into place.”
Tournament play begins at 10 a.m. PT for the Cougars on Thursday. Matches will take place at the Fertitta Tennis Complex in Las Vegas.