PROVO -- A rainy day looked bright for the No. 62 BYU men’s tennis team, which remains undefeated after beating UC Santa Barbara 5-2 at home. The Cougars improve to 6-0 with Saturday’s win.
“We were planning on UC Santa Barbara being a tough team,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “They came here prepared and we knew we had to play well to win.”
Doubles play went BYU’s way with Thomas Shubert and Cassidy Mears notching the first pairs win for the home team. Evan Urbina and Spencer Smith followed it up with a win of their own on court two, securing the doubles point for the Cougars.
“The key Saturday was winning the doubles point,” Pearce said.
At the No. 3 position, Daniel Hwang and Georgy Batrakov led their opponents most of the match, but the Gaucho tandem was able to rally and tie things up at 7-7. Because the point was already decided, the players faced off in a tiebreak at seven-all. Despite the help from a loud and animated crowd, the BYU duo fell 8-7 (7-3).
Singles play started off in the Cougars’ favor with Urbina and Batrakov easily winning their respective matches in straight sets. Mears and UCSB’s Scott Hohenstein went back-and-forth during the first set but the BYU senior was able to earn a 7-5 scoreline. He went on to close out the match 6-2 in the second set and clinch the victory for the Cougars.
“It’s important to follow up the doubles point with early wins in singles and we did that,” Pearce said. “This team has a lot of heart and their confidence is building.”
BYU kept pushing with Shubert besting Gaucho Alex Koningsfeldt on court one. Shubert brought the Cougars point total to five with his tiebreak win, which was played in place of a third set. Smith clawed his way back after losing the first set but dropped the tiebreaker to gift the Gauchos their first win of the day. UCSB followed it up with a victory on court five to end the match at 5-2.
“Roman and Spencer both fought hard and did a great job,” Pearce said. “You hate to lose any match but their opponents played good tennis at the end.”
BYU will resume play on the road next week against No. 63 Denver Friday and Drake Saturday.
No. 62 BYU-5
1. Mears/Shubert (BYU) def. Koningsfeldt/Therp (UCSB) 8-5
2. Smith/Urbina (BYU) def. Hohenstein/Jurgensen (UCSB) 8-6
3. Recknagel/Sudow (UCSB) def. Batrakov/Hwang (BYU) 8-7 (7-3)
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
1. No. 117 T. Shubert (BYU) def. A. Koningsfeldt (UCSB) 6-4, 5-7 (10-7)
2. E. Urbina (BYU) def. M. Forget (UCSB) 6-4, 6-2
3. C. Mears (BYU) def. S. Hohenstein (UCSB) 7-5, 6-4
4. G. Batrakov (BYU) def. B. Recknagel (UCSB) 6-2, 6-1
5. T. Chavez Goggin (UCSB) def. R. Warias (BYU) 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), (11-9)
6. L. Sudow (UCSB) def. S. Smith (BYU) 6-1, 4-6, 10-7
Order of finish: 2, 4, 3, 1, 6, 5
PROVO -- The No. 62 BYU men’s tennis team will come back to Provo this weekend to play UC Santa Barbara. The teams will face off Saturday at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts.
“Our goal is to stay focused on the process,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “We want to keep doing the things we’ve been doing on a weekly basis to prepare for all of our other matches.”
After a successful weekend on the East Coast, the Cougars are looking to build on their undefeated 5-0 record. BYU beat then-No. 61 Harvard, No. 67 Mississippi State and DePaul at the Harvard Kick-Off Tournament. Junior Evan Urbina earned conference honors as the Men’s Tennis Player of the Week for his performances at the two-day competition.
UCSB had a break between matches and the last result was a 4-3 loss to No. 1 USC Jan. 23. The Gauchos are 1-2 on the season and dropped a 6-1 decision when they last played BYU in 2008.
“Santa Barbara will be tough,” Pearce said. “Hopefully, we can focus on the things we have control over and that will produce a good outcome.”
Saturday’s match begins at 2 p.m. at the indoor courts, located south of the Smith Fieldhouse. Admission is free and the team will provide pizza to fans. All BYU “Y Lot” parking lots are open to the public all day Saturday.