PROVO -- With fired-up players and an animated crowd, the No. 45 BYU men’s tennis team defeated regional rival No. 29 Boise State 5-2 Saturday night. The Cougars improve their record to 11-1 with the upset and remain undefeated at home this season. This is the first time the squad has beaten BSU since 2002.
“Our guys were ready to play and that showed,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “It’s my first win [as head coach] over a Boise State team and that feels good.”
BYU showed it came ready to play with solid doubles performances across the board. Spencer Smith and Evan Urbina were first off the court with an 8-4 win at the No. 2 position. BYU pair Cassidy Mears and Thomas Shubert kept things close until they finally got the break they were looking for and clinched the doubles point with an 8-5 victory.
“Everyone that’s been in college coaching long enough knows how important it is to win the doubles point,” Pearce said. “You don’t have to win it but it sure helps.”
Georgy Batrakov and Daniel Hwang led most of the match and completed the sweep by defeating Erik Sheldon and Harry Skinner 8-6 on court three. The Cougars are now 9-0 on the season when winning the doubles point.
With a pairs sweep under its belt, BYU came out firing on all cylinders in singles. Batrakov won the first individual contest of the match after making quick work of BSU’s Filipp Pogostkin. It was almost another hour before any of the other matches were decided. Mears brought the score to 3-0 with a straight-set victory on court three.
Urbina won his first set 6-4 but Bronco Vicente Joli stormed back in the second to force a tiebreak to decide the set. After countless rallies and impressive tennis from both sides, the Cougar was able to clinch the set (14-12) and the upset for BYU.
“It was an incredible atmosphere and that helped our guys,” Pearce said. “It kept them pumped up and we were able to sustain momentum because of the crowd’s efforts.”
BSU’s James Meredith, the No. 36 player in the country, was the first Bronco to record a victory on the night. He came out on the winning end of a three-set match with No. 98 Shubert on court one.
Smith added another point for BYU with his defeat of Cristian Hodel at the No. 6 spot. Five hours after the match began, Hwang was the only Cougar left on the court. He lost the first set but rallied back to win the second. Because the match result was set, Hwang and BSU’s Jeff Mullen played a 10-point tiebreak rather than a full third set. Play went back and forth before Mullen earned the second win for the Broncos at 10-8.
“Everyone did a terrific job,” Pearce said. “I can’t say enough good things about everyone’s contribution today and that’s what it takes to beat good teams.”
The Cougars will hit the road again next week when they travel to Texas for the HEB Tournament of Champions Classic at Texas Tech.
No. 45 BYU-5
No. 29 Boise State-2
1. Mears/Shubert (BYU) def. Meredith/Mullen (BSU) 8-5
2. Smith/Urbina (BYU) def. Joli/Pogostkin (BSU) 8-4
3. Batrakov/Hwang (BYU) def. Sheldon/Skinner (BSU) 8-6
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3
1. No. 36 J. Meredith (BSU) def. No. 98 T. Shubert (BYU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
2. E. Urbina (BYU) def. V. Joli (BSU) 6-4, 7-6 (14)
3. C. Mears (BYU) def. H. Skinner (BSU) 6-4, 6-2
4. G. Batrakov (BYU) def. F. Pogostkin (BSU) 6-1, 6-2
5. S. Smith (BYU) def. C. Hodel (BSU) 6-1, 7-6 (7-4)
6. J. Mullen (BSU) def. D. Hwang (BYU) 6-4, 4-6, (10-8)
Order of Finish: 4, 3, 2, 1, 5, 6
PROVO -- In what is sure to be an exciting weekend of tennis, the No. 45 BYU men’s tennis team will face the University of San Francisco and regional rival No. 29 Boise State. The Cougars take on the Dons Friday evening and the Broncos Saturday evening.
“There’s no magic formula,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “We’re simply sticking with the routines we’ve adopted in preparation for our matches so far this season.”
Despite their first loss of the season last week against No. 24 Arizona, the Cougars recovered with a 5-2 win over South Alabama. BYU continues to move up in the rankings, coming in at the No. 45 spot this week. The ranking is the highest for the program since 2001.
BYU has defeated San Francisco in the two previous meetings between these teams. The last contest resulted in a 5-2 Cougar win in the 2006-2007 season. The Dons are currently 4-3 on the season and overcame UC Davis in their last match.
“San Francisco is a quality team and a good program,” Pearce said. “And Boise State is a big regional rivalry. It is a good team that is well-coached.”
Boise State will take on another local rival, No. 70 Utah, Friday before heading to Provo. The Broncos are 3-3 on the season and lost to then-No. 8 Stanford last week. BYU leads the all-time record 16-13 but has not beaten BSU since 2002. The Cougars suffered a close 4-3 loss in Boise, Idaho last season. Players from both squads competed in various tournaments throughout the fall including the Utah Fall Tennis Classic, the Boise State Classic, the Utah Intercollegiate Tournament and the ITA Mountain Region Championship.
“We feel confident going into the matches,” Pearce said. “But we know that we have to play with great heart and intensity and really go after it to come away with two victories this weekend.”
Both matches begin at 5: 30 p.m. at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts. Admission is free and the courts are located south of the Smith Fieldhouse. The team will provide pizza and prizes to fans. All BYU “Y Lot” parking lots are open to the public after 4 p.m. Friday and all day Saturday.