PROVO, Utah (April 25, 2003) Despite a strong performance in doubles play, the number 61 ranked BYU men's tennis team was unable to pick up a point in singles play and eventually dropped a 4-0 decision to number 60 New Mexico in the second semifinal match at this year's MWC Men's Tennis Championships, Friday. The Lobos will meet top seeded SDSU in the title game on Saturday afternoon.
The match was closely contested in doubles play as both teams battled down to the wire before New Mexico got the lead with wins from their number one and three doubles duos. In singles play, the Lobos' David Kowalski extended the lead to 2-0 with a 6-3, 6-1 win over BYU's Jeff Olsen.
At the number three and six singles spots it was the Cougars' Carlos Lechuga and Anton Rudjuk who got off to a good start wining the first set 6-4 and 6-2 respectively to give BYU a possible come from behind win over the Lobos. But it was New Mexico who came back with wins at the number five and two singles position that clinched the win for the second seeded UNM team
The finals are set to begin at 2 p.m., between New Mexico and San Diego State. BYU will get a chance to finish in third place with a win over Air Force in the 10 a.m. match Saturday.
1. Erik Nyman (BYU) vs. Bart Scott (UNM) 6-7, DNF
2. Divan Coetzee (UNM) def. Carlos Lozano (BYU) 3-6, 2-6
3. Jose Lechuga (BYU) def. Brent Salazar (UNM) 6-4, DNF
4. David Kowalski (UNM) def. Jeff Olsen (BYU) 3-6, 1-6
5. Ryan Stotland (UNM) def. Alonso Medina (BYU) 2-6, 3-6
6. Anton Rudjuk (BYU) vs. Jasmin Hodzic (UNM) 6-2, DNF
1. Salazar/Stotland (UNM) def. Nyman/Lozano (BYU) 8-9 (4)
2. Lechuga/Rudjuk (BYU) vs. Scott Hodzic (UNM) 8-8, DNF
3. Kowalski/Coetzee (UNM) def. Olsen/Medina (BYU) 8-9
MWC Tournament to Be Hosted in Provo
PROVO -- The No. 61 BYU men's tennis team will be this year's host institution as the Mountain West Conference tournament begins play this week in Provo. The Cougars earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament and will face UNLV in the first round on Thursday at 2 p.m. on the BYU outdoor courts.
The Cougars finished the season winning four of their last five matches to give them an 11-8 overall record and put them in a three-way tie with No. 30 San Diego State and No. 60 New Mexico for first place in the conference.
"The third seed is a tough one because we'll have to win three matches to win the championship, but the seeding works out for us," BYU head coach Jim Osborne said. "We have been off for a few days with finals and everything, so we can use the extra play. We beat UNLV just a few weeks ago, but you never want to overlook anybody, especially in the tournament. Any team can beat any other team on any given day."
The Cougars come into the tournament healthy and ready to play. Erik Nyman and Carlos Lozano have played at the No. 1 doubles position all year and have played at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in singles. The Cougar tandem are currently ranked 45th nationally and have compiled an impressive 20-13 overall record.
In singles, Nyman is 20-10 on the season playing primarily at the No. 1 spot. Lozano finished the season winning four of his last five matches at the No. 2 position to go 4-1 in MWC play and finish with a 17-11 overall record.
"I still don't think we are playing our best tennis yet," BYU head coach Jim Osborne said. "We're getting better all the time and I guess it's good that we will be playing our best at the right time."
The rest of BYU's singles and doubles lineup has been equally impressive this season. Jose Lechuga and Anton Rudjuk teamed up at the No. 2 doubles position to post a 17-11 overall record. Both Lechuga and Rudjuk have also come up with big wins in singles that have helped the Cougars clinch a couple of close matches this season.
Jeff Olsen and Alonso Medina have played at the No. 3 doubles spot all year and together they have compiled an overall record of 11-16. Both have played at the bottom half of the lineup all season, but have provided the Cougars with some consistent play.
"I've been extremely happy with the bottom part of our lineup," Osborne said. "We've had some guys step up and that has given us a big push in some close matches this season."
The MWC currently has three teams ranked in the top-75 nationally. The winner of the six-team MWC tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament in May, so each team has something to play for.
"We've played a lot of tennis this season, but we are ready and excited for the tournament," Osborne said. "We all understand that we need to win to assure ourselves a spot in the NCAA tournament. Playing at home is a big advantage for us. We just need to play hard and focus on each match."