CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Despite victories from seniors Keaton Cullimore and Jacob Sullivan, BYU men’s tennis dropped its second match of the weekend to Cornell 4-2 at the Murr Center Tennis Courts on Saturday afternoon.
“I liked the way our guys dug in when their backs were against the wall,” BYU head coach Brad Pearce said. “We played better overall tennis today, but we still didn’t win. All the Ivy League schools have very good tennis programs, so it was a great opportunity to get better.”
BYU (2-3) struggled to match the Big Red’s pace as Cornell (3-0) quickly took control with victories at first and third doubles to claim the doubles point. At first doubles, Sullivan and John Pearce fell 6-1 to Chris Vrabel and Bernardo Casares followed by Cullimore and Derek Vincent’s 6-4 loss at No. 3 doubles to Lev Kazakov and Dylan Brown.
In singles play, Jeremy Bourgeois fell 6-1, 6-2 to Kazakov on court No. 1 and John Pearce dropped his match to Daniel Grunberger, 6-3, 6-4 at fourth singles. With the Cougars facing a 3-0 deficit, Sullivan fought back at No. 5 singles for a close 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over Pietro Rimondini. The point wasn’t enough, however, as Casares clinched the match for Cornell, pulling out a three-set win over freshman Sam Tullis 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
Cullimore upset No. 62 Chris Vrabel in a three-set tiebreaker 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(6) at No. 2 singles to claim the second and final point for BYU.
BYU hosts three regional opponents next weekend at the Indoor Tennis Courts in Provo. The Cougars face Denver on Friday, Feb. 3, at 5:30 p.m. MST before competing in a doubleheader against Montana State and Northern Arizona on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively.
Cornell 4 BYU 2
- Vrabel/Casares (Cornell) def. Sullivan/J. Pearce (BYU) 6-1
- Bourgeois/M. Pearce (BYU) vs. Sinclair/Sikka (Cornell) 5-5 DNF
- Kazakov/Brown (Cornell) def. Cullimore/D. Vincent (BYU) 6-4
Order of finish: (1,3)
1. Kazakov (Cornell) def. Bourgeois (BYU) 6-1, 6-2
2. Cullimore (BYU) def. Vrabel (Cornell) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(6)
3. M. Pearce (BYU) vs. Sinclair (Cornell) 6-2, 6-7 (4-1) DNF
4. Grunberger (Cornell) def. J. Pearce (BYU) 6-3, 6-4
5. Jake Sullivan (BYU) def. Rimondini (Cornell) 7-6(5), 6-4
6. Casares (Cornell) def. Tullis (BYU) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
Order of finish: (1,4,5,6,2)
PROVO, Utah – After dropping a close 4-3 match to No. 18 Stanford, BYU men’s tennis travels to the East Coast to take on Ivy League teams Harvard and Cornell.
The Cougars (2-1, 0-0 WCC) face off against Harvard on Friday, Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. EST and Cornell on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 4 p.m. EST. Both matches will be held at the Murr Center Tennis Courts in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Several BYU players had standout performances at Stanford last weekend, including an upset over No. 15 Yale Goldberg and Sameer Kumar at No. 1 doubles by John Pearce and Jacob Sullivan. Last week, BYU was selected to finish fourth in the West Coast Conference while senior Keaton Cullimore was named to the All-WCC preseason team.
Harvard (2-1) started the dual season at home with the Crimson Kick Off last weekend. The Crimson defeated Furman 6-1 and New Jersey Institute of Technology 6-1, but fell to Old Dominion 4-0. BYU holds a 2-0 all-time record over Harvard. The Cougars topped the No. 61 Crimson 4-3 in January 2010.
Cornell (2-0) swept Binghamton 7-0 after a 6-1 victory over Buffalo last weekend. The Big Red feature one nationally-ranked player, No. 62 Chris Vrabel. This is the first meeting between the Cougars and Big Red.
With a victory over either Harvard or Cornell, BYU head coach Brad Pearce will earn the 200th win of his career.