TUCSON -- Following the first loss of the season Friday against No. 24 Arizona, the No. 49 BYU men’s tennis team rebounded with a 5-2 win over South Alabama Saturday. The Cougars improve to 9-1 on the year with the win.
“I’m proud of the way the guys bounced back after a tough, physical loss,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “The players were tired emotionally and physically after back-to-back road trips.”
Wins by Georgy Batrakov and Daniel Hwang on court three and Evan Urbina and Spencer Smith on court two gave BYU the doubles point. Cassidy Mears and Thomas Shubert dropped an 8-6 decision at the No. 1 position to give the Jaguars their only doubles win of the contest.
In singles, No. 98 Shubert and Smith handily defeated their respective opponents in straight sets. Batrakov and Mears also recorded wins to seal the victory for the Cougars. South Alabama notched its two points with wins at the Nos. 2 and 6 positions.
“Alabama is a dangerous team,” Pearce said. “Our guys really had to dig deep to win on each court.”
The Cougars will be back in action at home next week when they host the University of San Francisco and No. 29 Boise State.
No. 49 BYU-5
1. Viel/Bartsch (USA) def. Mears/ Shubert (BYU) 8-6
2. Smith/Urbina (BYU) def. Kuehne/Bocaert (USA) 8-6
3. Batrakov/Hwang (BYU) def. Bernard/Kruger (USA) 8-2
1. No. 98 T. Shubert (BYU) def. L. Viel (USA) 6-3, 6-2
2. R. Bocaert (USA) def. E. Urbina (BYU) 6-3, 6-2
3. C. Mears (BYU) def. H. Bartsch (USA) 6-0, 7-6
4. G. Batrakov (BYU) def. A. Bernard (USA) 7-6, 6-1
5. S. Smith (BYU) def. C. Kuehne (USA) 6-2, 6-4
6. D. Kruger (USA) def. R. Warias (BYU) 6-2, 7-5
PROVO -- For the second week in a row, the No. 49 BYU men’s tennis team will play two matches on the road. The Cougars will travel to Tucson, Ariz. to face No. 24 Arizona Friday and South Alabama Saturday.
“We’ve won enough tough matches and enough close matches to give our players the confidence to compete with anybody,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said.
BYU secured two more victories last week in Denver. The Cougars upset No. 55 Denver 4-3 Friday before downing Drake 6-1 Saturday. The team is now 8-0 on the season and continues to move up in the rankings, BYU jumped 11 spots this week and now comes in at No. 49. In the singles rankings, junior Thomas Shubert improved 19 spots to break 100 and capture the No. 98 position. In addition, the Mountain West Conference honored Georgy Batrakov as the Men’s Tennis Player of the Week.
First up for BYU will be a 4-1 Arizona squad. The Wildcats recorded two close 4-3 wins last week, one against No. 73 New Mexico State and the other over Cal Poly. Arizona leads the overall record 3-6. The teams last met in March 2008 with the Wildcats earning a 5-2 decision.
“Our guys know that Arizona has a good record and ranking,” Pearce said. “But our approach hasn’t been different than any other week. We know if we don’t come out with an attitude to battle and compete then we can lose to anyone.”
Saturday brings South Alabama, a team BYU hasn’t played since the 2006-07 season when the Jaguars bested the Cougars 4-0. USA is 2-2 on the season and had a rest from competition last week. Most recently, the Jaguars defeated Florida A&M 6-1.
“We’re going to focus on competing and let the results take care of themselves,” Pearce said.
The match against Arizona begins at noon MST Friday and play versus South Alabama starts at 9 a.m. MST Saturday. Both matches will take place at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center.