PROVO, Utah (Mar. 10) -- The No. 57 BYU men's tennis team (8-6) beat the Montana State Bobcats (4-10) 7-0 Saturday in the team's first outdoor home match of the season and second its sweep in a row. The match was the team's last before hosting the No. 13 Texas Longhorns Monday at 3:30, the Cougars' biggest match of the year.
"Obviously, anytime you can sweep is great, but it's more about team attitude," BYU head coach Brad Pearce said. "It's about what we're trying to create for the rest of the season, and that is that we're going to come out our hardest and prepare mentally for every match."
The doubles point was decided after Cassidy Mears and Cale Planck won their match on court No. 3, 8-2, and Chip Hand and Jonathan Sanchez won shortly thereafter on court No. 2 with a score of 8-1. Court No. 1 featured a tougher match for seniors James Ludlow and Dominik Kaufhold as they got behind early, but came back to win the set 8-6 to complete the doubles sweep.
No. 94 Ludlow set the tone for the singles competition with a 6-0 first set against Jacob Dybala on court one. In the second set, Dybala was able to hold his first two services and four total in the second set, but his determination was not enough to topple the top Cougar and Ludlow won the second set 6-4.
Not only did BYU sweep the Bobcats, but as a team the Cougars did not give up a single set either. The four games in Ludlow's second set was the most any Bobcat won against any Cougar on Saturday. In total, BYU's players only allowed MSU to win 16 games in the 12 sets they played.
"We often look at the outcome, but I'm also looking at performance," Pearce said. "We have goals for both. We focused and didn't let it become a match on any court. I'm pleased with the outcome, but as a coach I am also pleased with the performance."
The team is now focused solely on the mission at hand: to beat last year's NCAA runners-up, the No. 13 Texas Longhorns in Provo, stay undefeated at home, improve to 19-1 at home since 2004, and move up in the rankings. Texas is the highest ranked team the Cougars have faced this season and the highest rank team to visit Provo since coach Pearce has been at the helm.
"We're going to stick with what we do well and we're going to execute within our abilities. That's what we did well today and if we can do that against Texas I think we have a good shot to beat them."
In order to increase fan support at Monday's match, the men's tennis team will provide free pizza and donuts to all in attendance. As a special treat for tennis fans, the team will also give away an autographed photograph of Anna Kournikova and an autographed T-shirt from Pete Sampras in a free raffle after Monday's match against Texas. The autographed prizes were donated by BYU alum Lonnie Nielson, owner of the professional world tennis team the Sacramento Capitals. Admission to all BYU tennis matches is free.
No. 57 BYU def. Montana State 7-0
1. James Ludlow/Dominik Kaufhold (BYU) def. Jacob Dybala/Kyle McDonald (MSU) 8-6
2. Chip Hand/Jonathan Sanchez (BYU) def. Zach Buenger/Igor Vuckovic (MSU) 8-1
3. Cassidy Mears/Cale Planck (BYU) def. David Kovas/Anton Leonenko (MSU) 8-2
BYU wins doubles point
Order of finish:
3, 2*, 1
(*clinches doubles point)
1. Ludlow (BYU) def. Dybala (MSU) 6-0, 6-4
2. Kaufhold (BYU) def. McDonald (MSU) 6-2, 6-2
3. Hand (BYU) def. Leonenko (MSU) 6-1, 6-0
4. Sanchez (BYU) def. Buenger (MSU) 6-0, 6-1
5. Mears (BYU) def. Kovas (MSU) 6-1, 6-1
6. Planck (BYU) def. Myles Perkins (MSU) 6-1, 6-3
Order of finsish:
3, 6, 4*, 1, 5, 6
First Outdoor Matches for Cougars Against Top Teams
PROVO -- Saturday will be a day of record for the BYU No. 57 men's and No. 29 women's tennis teams as the men square off at home against Montana State in preparation to host No. 13 Texas on Monday. The women's team will also host No. 2 Notre Dame in the afternoon.
The No. 57 ranking is the highest that the men's team has had since head coach Brad Pearce has been at the helm. The surging Cougars have won four of their last six matches and are undefeated at home this season. In fact, the team is 17-1 at home dating back to the 2004 season. The last match BYU hosted featured senior James Ludlow upsetting the No. 19 player in the nation in three sets, winning conference player-of-the-week honors for his performance, and a 5-2 win over No. 60 Denver.
Monday's match against No. 13 Texas is the match the Cougars's have had circled on their calendar since the start of the season. The Longhorns were last year's runner-up to the national title and the Cougars are hungry for a chance at beating the best.
"These will be our first matches outdoors at home this season and we feel like Saturday will be a good warm up match to get us ready for an upset against Texas," Pearce said. "We haven't had as high a ranked team as Texas is come and play us at home for a long time and we're excited for the opportunity. We feel like the crowd support is a big factor in our home record. Tennis fans should look forward to a great match on Saturday and a better one on Monday."
In order to increase that fan support, the men's tennis team provides free pizza and donuts to all in attendance at every match. As a special treat for tennis fans, the team will also give away an autographed photograph of Anna Kournikova and an autographed T-shirt from Pete Sampras in a free raffle after Monday's match against Texas. The autographed prizes were donated by BYU alum Lonnie Nielson, owner of the professional world tennis team the Sacramento Capitals.
The BYU women defeated Rice on Thursday at home with a score of 7-0, the team's first sweep of the season. Their match on Saturday will likely be the women's team's toughest match of the season as the Cougars' play host to No. 2 Notre Dame at 4 p.m.
The women's match will be preceded by the men's match which starts at 11 a.m. Parking and admission to both matches are free. The matches will take place at the outdoor courts, weather permitting. In case there is inclement weather, the matches will take place at the indoor facility adjacent to the outdoor courts.