ALBUQUERQUE -- Solid play by the upperclassmen pushed the No. 32 BYU men’s tennis team past defending Mountain West Champion New Mexico Saturday. The Cougars secured a 5-2 win to improve to 2-0 in the conference and 17-4 overall.
Three juniors and lone senior Cassidy Mears lead the team, accounting for all of BYU’s points in the victory over the Lobos. UNM notched the first doubles victory of the contest, an 8-2 decision on court two. Daniel Hwang and Evan Urbina recorded the first pairs win of the day for the Cougars at 8-5. And Mears partnered with Thomas Shubert at the No. 1 position to defeat their Lobo opponents and capture the doubles point.
Mears continued his impressive run with a 6-0, 6-1 victory on court four to put BYU up 2-0. Shubert’s three-set win meant the Cougars needed only one more victory to earn their second conference win of the week. Spencer Smith won his first set at 7-5 but ultimately fell to New Mexico’s Conor Berg for the Lobos’ first point of the match.
Hwang, one of three BYU players to keep his match to two sets, clinched the victory, defeating Joe Wood 7-6, 7-6. UNM kept fighting, tallying another three-set win at the No. 3 spot. Urbina closed the match in dramatic fashion, winning a third-set tiebreak to end the weekend with a 5-2 victory.
The Cougars will stay on the road next week, playing Southern Methodist Friday and conference opponent TCU Saturday.
No. 32 BYU-5
1. Cassidy Mears/Thomas Shubert (BYU) def. Phil Anderson/Jadon Phillips (NM) 8-5
2. Conor Berg/Ben Dunbar (NM) def. Georgy Batrakov/Spencer Smith (BYU) 8-2
3. Daniel Hwang/Evan Urbina (BYU) def. Joe Wood/Carl Ho (NM) 8-5
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1
1. Thomas Shubert (BYU) def. Ben Dunbar (NM) 6-3, 6-4
2. Evan Urbina (BYU) def. Carl Ho (NM) 6-7, 7-5, 7-6
3. Jadon Phillips (NM) def. Georgy Batrakov (BYU) 2-6, 7-6, 6-2
4. Cassidy Mears (BYU) def. Phil Anderson (NM) 6-0, 6-1
5. Conor Berg (NM) def. Spencer Smith (BYU) 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
6. Daniel Hwang (BYU) def. Joe Wood (NM) 7-6, 7-6
Order of Finish: 4, 1, 5, 6, 3, 2
PROVO -- After downing Loyola Marymount last week, the No. 32 BYU men’s tennis team will open conference play in a whirlwind road trip. The Cougars will face Air Force Thursday in Colorado and New Mexico Saturday in Albuquerque.
Junior Evan Urbina played at the No. 1 position for the first time this year in the 7-0 sweep of LMU and earned Men’s Tennis Player of the Week honors for the third time this season for his performances. The Cougars fell one spot in the rankings to No. 32 after dropping a match to UCSB Friday. After its last outing, BYU is 15-4 on the season.
Thursday, the Cougars will take on Air Force (10-5). The Falcons lost to Illinois State and Pacific 6-1 in their last two matches. BYU swept AFA in San Diego when the teams met last year in conference play and leads the all-time record 21-3.
The Cougars will then travel to face defending conference tournament champion New Mexico, which currently owns a 5-7 record. The Lobos defeated BYU 4-3 in 2009 but trail the overall record 19-22. UNM blanked Northern Arizona last week and will face conference opponent Utah Thursday before taking on the Cougars.
First serve Thursday is set for 2 p.m. at the Cadet Gym in Colorado Springs, Colo. Play is scheduled for the outdoor courts, weather permitting. The match against New Mexico begins at 1 p.m. at the Lobo Tennis Club Saturday.