Cougars Smother Nationally Ranked Teams at Home and on the Road
PROVO -- Both the BYU men's and women's tennis teams defeated nationally ranked teams Friday as the men upset the University of Denver (No. 60) in Provo and the women beat No. 48 Arkansas on the road.
"It shows the never say die attitude pays off," BYU head men's coach Brad Pearce said. "They have some great players. I still think we can play a little bit better. The top two spots were just unbelievable today and it's certainly a big win for us this season. It was basically senior leadership today."
The men's team faced an exhilarating and exhausting day from the get-go. James Ludlow and Dominik Kaufhold lost the No. 1 doubles match to the No. 40 doubles team in the nation, Adam Holmstrom and Niklas Persson, 8-6. Cassidy Mears and Cale Planck then won the second doubles match, SCORE, to leave the fate of the doubles point in the hands of Chip Hand and Jonathan Sanchez of BYU and Nejc Smole and Ravjot Dhatt of Denver. The set went to a tiebreak at eight apiece and hopes were high for the Cougars, but Denver ran away with the set and the doubles point, winning the tiebreaker 7-2.
Down but definitely not out, BYU took over in the singles competition and pulled out the victory. The match of the day turned out to also be the match of Ludlow's career. He faced of against No. 19 Holmstrom at the No. 1 position and upset him in three sets. Holmstrom won the first set 4-6 by breaking Ludlow in the last game of the set. Ludlow started out the second set with a break of his own and both held serve until Ludlow closed out the set 6-4. The third set appeared to be all Holmstrom as he scored the first three points of the set and rolled to a 5-2 lead. Again, down but not out, Ludlow proved why the sets go to six points. He won five games in a row and scored the winning point on a cross-court forehand volley, a shot he had already missed a number of times in the match.
"It was the crowd that pulled me threw the match," Ludlow said. "I have never been into a match like that and it was crowd that pushed me on. I was just shaking at the end when I won."
The men's record improves to 6-4 on the season and 17-1 at home since the 2004 season. The crowd in attendance was the largest of the season at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts Pearce attributes much of the team's success to fan support. The team heads to Corpus Christie, Texas next weekend for the Corpus Christie Invitational before hosting Montana State on March 10.
The women's team swept the doubles competition against Arkansas to give the Cougars the first and deciding point in the match. The singles were split with three wins for each team. Senior Lauren Jones faced her fifth ranked opponent on the year and lost to No. 40 Ela Kaluder of Arkansas in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5. Anastasia Surkova won at the No. 2 spot as did Chie Hayasaka and Dolly Chang at the Nos. 5 and 6 spots, respectively, to give BYU the four points needed for the win.
BYU improves to 5-4 on the year with its third win in a row. Only one of the teams the Cougars have played has not been nationally ranked and the blue and white will face its ninth ranked team at Texas Tech Saturday as it faces off against the No. 53 Red Raiders in the team's first outdoor match of the season.
"We played good doubles. Low altitude high humidity. Tough conditions. Sofia fell and hurt her knee. She kept playing and did a good job. Everyone played really well. Even the losses were tight matches. We're going to have to sit sofia tomorrow, but
BYU 5, Denver 2
1. Adam Holmstrom/Niklas Persson (UD) def. James Ludlow/Dominik Kaufhold (BYU) 8-6
2. Nejc Smole/Ravjot Dahtt (UD) def. Chip Hand/Jonathan Sanchez (BYU) 9-8 (2)
3. Cassidy Mears/Cale (BYU) Planck def. Kalle Rosen/Timo Kienle (UD) 9-7
1. Ludlow (BYU) def. Holmstrom (UD) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
2. Kaufhold (BYU) def. Smole (UD) 3-6, 7-6, 6-4
3. Hand (BYU) def. Kienle (UD) 6-4, 6-0
4. Persson (UD) def. Sanchez (BYU) 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2), 7-5
5. Mears (BYU) def. Rosen (UD) 6-3, 2-6, 6-3
6. Planck (BYU) def. Dahtt (UD) 6-3, 6-2
BYU 4, Arkansas 3
1. Anastasia Surkova/Jennifer Miccoli (BYU) def. Ela Kaluder/Audrey Bordeleau (UA) 6-3, ret.
2. Lauren Jones/Sofia Holden (BYU) def. Nanar Airapetian/Maryori Franco (UA) 8-3
3. Kristina Doerr/Dolly Chang (BYU) def. Rachel Wilhelm/Melissa Hoffmeister (UA) 8-3
1. Ela Kaluder (UA) def. Lauren Jones (BYU) 6-3, 7-5
2. Anastasia Surkova (BYU) def. Nanar Airapetian (UA) 6-4, 6-1
3. Maryori Franco (UA) def. Kristina Doerr (BYU) 6-3, 6-3
4. Audrey Bordeleau (UA) def. Sofia Holden (UA) 7-6(4), 6-1
5. Chie Hayasaka (BYU) def. Melissa Hoffmeister (UA) 4-6, 6-0, 6-2
6. Dolly Chang (UA) def. Carly Dixon (UA) 7-5, 3-6, 6-1
Pioneers Stare Down Cougars in Provo
PROVO -- The BYU men's tennis team (5-4) will host the No. 60 Denver Pioneers (5-1) Friday at 5 p.m. at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts in front of a Cougar athlete-filled crowd. This match is scheduled as the team's "Y Match" to which athletes from all the Cougar teams are encouraged to attend.
BYU enters the match after a 16-day rest since its last match. The team won both matches of a doubleheader against Portland and Oregon in Oregon on February 7. Jonathan Sanchez won Mountain West Conference Player-of-the-Week honors after winning five of six matches between his singles and doubles competition that weekend.
"The rest has been good for us," BYU head coach Brad Pearce said. "We ended on a great note in the Northwest and we've had some physical practices since. Denver is going to be a good, physical team and we're going to need great effort from our entire lineup. I anticipate that it is going to be a great match."
Perhaps the biggest concern the Cougars have going into the match is the health of team-captain Dominik Kaufhold. He aggravated a past injury to his right heel Tuesday and is questionable for Friday's match. He has played No. 1 singles the last two matches and was slated to face off against No. 19 Adam Holstrom at the top position.
"I think the team feels good," sophomore Cale Planck said. "We're just hoping Dom feels good. We have had a good week of practice and now we're just hoping to do well in front our fans."
BYU "Y" Lot parking is available to the public after 4 p.m. Admission to the match is free and the match begins at 5 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to crowd members in a free raffle and free pizza and donuts will also be provided. Members of the BYU football team are also slated to perform the Haka, a traditional Maori war dance, between the singles and doubles competition.