PROVO, Utah – Junior John Pearce clinched the match with a three-set victory as BYU topped Denver 4-3 Friday night at the BYU indoor tennis courts.
"We didn't get a win on every court, but we fought hard and competed to the very last point," BYU head coach Brad Pearce said. "I was proud of them. When we keep fighting like that, their play is going to get better. The effort was very high. Every loss was extended to three sets. At the end of the day, it was fun to get the win and it was good for the guys."
Facing a 3-2 deficit, freshman Sam Tullis rallied in a second-set tiebreaker to defeat Wyatt Lovera 6-2, 7-6(1) and tie the match. John Pearce pulled out the fourth and final point for BYU with a 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-2 victory over Sean Huynh at fifth singles.
In doubles play, Aidan Carrazedo and Tullis secured the point with a 6-4 win over Denver’s Diogo Rocha and Zach Fryer at No. 3 doubles. John Pearce and Jacob Sullivan fell to James Yannik and Alex Gasson at first doubles before Jeremy Bourgeois and Matthew Pearce took down Pedro Fernandez Del Valle and Ruder-Hook, 6-1.
Sullivan, who remains undefeated in singles this year, earned the Cougars’ second point of the match with a quick 6-1, 6-3 victory over Fernandez Del Valle at the No. 4 singles slot.
But with a 2-0 BYU advantage, the Pioneers weren’t ready to let the Cougars off easy. Gasson topped Matthew Pearce 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at second singles before Bourgeois was defeated by Yannik 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 at the No. 2 slot. Keaton Cullimore also sent his match into three sets at No. 1 singles but fell to Diogo Rocha 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
With the win, BYU improved to 3-3 overall while Denver fell to 1-3. The victory was also Brad Pearce's 200th career win as head coach of the BYU men's tennis team.
"To me, every win is important," Pearce said. "Every win is precious. It's not really something I'm counting. I'm just working on getting the guys prepared the best they can for the next match. Yes, it was the 200th win, but the hallmark of tonight's match for me is that we got the job done."
The Cougars kick off their second doubleheader of the season against Montana State and NAU tomorrow, Feb. 4, at 12 p.m. MST, and 5:30 p.m. MST, respectively. Both matches will be played at the indoor tennis courts. Links to live video and stats can be found on the men’s tennis schedule page.
BYU 4 Denver 3
- Yannik/Gasson (Denver) def. Sullivan/J. Pearce (BYU) 6-1
- Bourgeois/M. Pearce (BYU) def. Fernandez Del Valle/Ruder-Hook (Denver) 6-1
- Carrazedo/Tullis (BYU) def. Rocha/Fryer (Denver) 6-4
Order of finish: (1,2,3)
- Rocha (Denver) def. Cullimore (BYU) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
- Yannik (Denver) def. Bourgeois (BYU) 6-3, 5-7, 6-2
- Gasson (Denver) def. M. Pearce (BYU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
- Sullivan (BYU) vs. Fernandez Del Valle (Denver) 6-1, 6-3
- J. Pearce (BYU vs. Huynh (Denver) 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2
- Tullis (BYU) vs. Lovera (Denver) 6-2, 7-6 (7-1)
Order of finish: (4,3,2,1,6,5)
PROVO, Utah – After dropping two tough matches to Ivy League competitors, BYU men’s tennis returns home to host regional opponents Denver, Montana State and Northern Arizona this weekend.
BYU (2-3, 0-0 WCC) faces Denver on Friday, Feb. 3, at 5:30 p.m. MST before playing in a doubleheader against Montana State and Northern Arizona on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively. With a victory over any of the three teams, BYU head coach Brad Pearce will earn the 200th win of his career.
Senior Jacob Sullivan was the only Cougar to record two victories in Massachusetts last weekend, as BYU fell to Harvard and Cornell. Sullivan fought his way back in a three-set tiebreaker over Harvard’s Andy Zhou and defeated Cornell’s Pietro Rimondini, both at fifth singles. Senior Keaton Cullimore also picked up a win against Cornell as he upset No. 62 Chris Vrabel at No. 2 singles.
Denver (1-2, 0-0 Summit League) boasts several ranked players in the Mountain Region, including No. 3 Diogo Rocha, No. 9 Yannik James and No. 11 Alex Gasson. Gasson and James are ranked No. 1 in doubles while teammates Pedro Fernandez Del Valle and Jesse Rudder-Hook are ranked sixth. The Pioneers competed in the ITA Kick-Off Tournament last weekend where they fell to Old Dominion and Utah. BYU dropped a close 4-3 match to No. 52 Denver on the road last season.
Montana State (2-4, 1-0 Big Sky) picked up a 5-2 victory over Northern Colorado after dropping matches to University of Missouri-Kansas City and Air Force last week. BYU and Montana State last met in January 2015, when the Cougars swept the Bobcats 7-0 in Provo.
Northern Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Big Sky) will kick off its spring season at BYU this week. Sophomore Tim Handel is ranked No. 13 in the region and the Lumberjacks were selected to finish fourth in the Big Sky Conference. BYU defeated NAU 7-0 in Provo last season.
Admission to all three matches will be free to the public and free pizza will be provided. Links to live stats and a video stream can be found on the men’s tennis schedule page.