Cougars Fall to Rival Utes
SALT LAKE -- It was another rough day in Salt Lake City for the BYU men’s tennis team. The Cougars dropped their second conference match in as many days, this one a 5-2 loss to Utah.
“First and foremost, you have to give credit to Utah,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “At the same time, these courts are fast and we’ve got to develop better skills for faster surfaces.”
Doubles play went to Utah with the Utes sweeping all three matches. The trouble started on court one with an 8-1 loss. The Cougars then fell on court three, giving up the doubles point. Daniel Hwang and Thomas Shubert looked like they might take the match at the No. 2 position after coming back to tie things at 7-all. But the sophomore duo dropped the tiebreak 7-3.
“Our guys fought hard and every one of them is disappointed,” Pearce said.
Travis Fillmore was the first to fall, dropping a straight-set match on court six. Evan Urbina put BYU back in the match, winning 6-3, 6-0 at the No. 3 position. A loss by Roman Warias on court one put the Utes one point away from the win.
Shubert lost the first set but came back to win the second 6-3. But Utah’s Phil Eilers proved too much for him and the Utes clinched their second conference win. Mears was a bright spot for the Cougars. He split sets before going on to defeat John Taylor in three. The win marked Mears’ tenth consecutive victory.
Georgy Batrakov battled through the last match of the day. The freshman took the first set but Utah’s Jason Smits came back to win the second. The last set went back-and-forth with Batrakov eventually falling 6-, 5-7, 5-7.
“Win or lose, these types of matches are what you play for. Both teams played hard and fair and there was a great crowd,” Pearce said. “That’s what you want in conference matches and that’s what you want in rivalry matches.”
BYU will resume conference play Saturday against No. 65 UNLV. The match begins at 9 a.m. at the Eccles Tennis Center.
No. 54 Utah- 5
1. Eilers/Hancock (UTAH) def. Batrakov/Warias (BYU) 8-1
2. Allin/Taylor (UTAH) def. Hwang/Shubert (BYU) 8-7 (7-3)
3. Jacobs/Suriano (UTAH) def. Mears/Urbina (BYU) 8-5
Order of finish: 1, 3, 2
1. W. Hancock (UTAH) def. R. Warias (BYU) 6-4, 6-2
2. P. Eilers (UTAH) def. T. Shubert (BYU) 6-4, 3-6, 6-0
3. E. Urbina (BYU) def. B. Suriano (UTAH) 6-3, 6-0
4. C. Mears (BYU) def. J. Taylor (UTAH) 6-4, 7-6, 6-2
5. J. Smits (UTAH) def. G. Batrakov (BYU) 1-6, 7-5, 6-4
6. T. Allin (UTAH) def. T. Fillmore (BYU) 6-2, 6-3
Order of finish: 6, 3, 1, 2, 4, 5
BYU Heads North to Begin Conference Play
PROVO -- A weekend of stiff competition with conference opponents awaits the No. 63 BYU men’s tennis team in Salt Lake City. The 12-8 Cougars will face No. 48 TCU, No. 62 Utah and No. 65 UNLV.
“We play three good schools,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “We’re poised and ready after last weekend’s matches to play with confidence.”
Conference champion TCU will be the first hurdle for BYU. The Horned Frogs own a 6-9 record on the season with their last results being a 7-0 win over Columbia. Their two ranked doubles teams have broken the top 30 and currently sit at No. 21 and No. 28. TCU also has three singles players in the ranking mix.
The teams met twice last year, once in the regular season and once at the conference tournament. The Horned Frogs bested the Cougars in both matches.
“We were a younger team last year,” Pearce said. “This year we have more experience and better know what to expect in these tough conference matches.”
BYU will turn its attention to in-state rival Utah Friday. The 12-6 Utes defeated Loyola Marymount, 6-1, in their last outing. Utah has one pair ranked in the top 75. Last season, the Cougars were unable to overcome the Utes, dropping a 4-3 match at home.
The team will close out the weekend against UNLV. The Rebels are 12-8 on the season and 1-1 in conference play after sweeping Air Force but falling 5-2 to No. 34 New Mexico. BYU lost a close 4-3 match to UNLV in the regular season before upsetting them 4-2 in the first round of the conference tournament last year.
“They are all good teams so we’re just taking it one match at a time,” Pearce said.
Thursday’s match against TCU begins at 9 a.m. The match Friday starts at 1 p.m. and play versus UNLV is set for 9 a.m. Saturday. All matches will be played at the Liberty Park Tennis Center, weather pending. If inclement weather occurs, matches will be moved indoors to the Eccles Tennis Center.