SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Apr. 24, 2010) In their final regular season match, the No. 33 BYU men’s tennis team defeated instate rival Utah 6-1 to capture the 2010 MWC Regular Season Crown with an undefeated 6-0 league record, Saturday.
The win extends the team’s record to 21-5 overall, and gives the Cougars another point in the 2010 Deseret First Duel.
“We’re thrilled with the win today, “ said head coach Brad Pearce. “There was a lot on the line in this match and our guys hung tough and came through beautifully. This was a great overall team victory.”
After taking an early 1-0 lead winning the doubles point, BYU freshman Spencer Smith extended the lead to 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-3 straight sets victory over Utah senior Timmy Allin at number five singles.
“Spencer played very well for us defeating a very good Ute senior, finished first in singles play,” added coach Pearce.
Another straight sets victory at the number three spot gave the Cougars a 3-0 advantage with sophomore Georgy Batrakov defeating Utah’s Alex Golding 6-1, 7-6 (7-6). Senior Cassidy Mears sealed the Cougar victory at the number four singles position where he battled to a three-set win over the Utes Benito Suriano 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“Cassidy battled back after being down in the first set and won the match for us,” Pearce said.
Utah’s lone win was at number one singles where Phillip Eilers beat Thomas Shubert 3-6, 7-6 (7-6), 6-3.
The Cougars next compete in the 2010 MWC Men’s Tennis Championships on April 28-May 1 in Las Vegas. By clinching the regular season title with a perfect 6-0 record, BYU gets a first round bye and will not play until the semifinals on Fri. Apr. 30. The winner of the league tournament receives an automatic entrance into the NCAA Championships.
No. 33 BYU- 6
1. Phillip Eilers (UT) def. Thomas Shubert (BY) 3-6, 7-6 (7-6), 6-3
2. Evan Urbina (BY) def. Jason Smits (UT) 6-3, 5-7, 6-3
3. Georgy Batrakov (BY) def. Alex Golding (UT) 6-1, 7-6 (7-6)
4. Cassidy Mears (BY) def. Benito Suriano (UT) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
5. Spencer Smith (BY) def. Timmy Allin (UT) 6-2, 6-3
6. Daniel Hwang (BY) def. Stephen Jacobs (UT) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
PROVO -- With just one match standing between the No. 33 BYU men’s tennis team and the outright Mountain West Conference title, the Cougars will head north to Salt Lake City to take on Utah in a Deseret First Duel match this Saturday. This will be the last regular-season match of the year for both teams.
“We’re just focusing on the process we’ve been going through the whole year as we prepare for Utah and our first match in the tournament,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said.
BYU moved up two spots in the rankings this week after defeating No. 56 SDSU, 4-3, and No. 58 UNLV, 7-0. The only undefeated squad in the conference, the Cougars clinched a share of the MWC regular-season championship with the win over the Aztecs. A victory against Utah would make BYU regular-season champions for the first time since the conference began in 1999. With most teams one match away from finishing conference play, Utah is currently No. 6 in the standings.
“Our practices have been physical and tough,” Pearce said. “We’ve kept up our strength and conditioning, and we’re working on skill development. We’re sticking to our routines.”
The Utes (7-14, 2-3) defeated UNLV 4-3 and fell to San Diego State 5-2 in their last outing. Players on the team faced opponents from BYU throughout the fall season, including at the Utah Intercollegiate Tournament and the ITA Mountain Region Championship. BYU’s Thomas Shubert won the singles title at the Utah Intercollegiate, marking the second consecutive year a Cougar has earned the crown. Junior Evan Urbina won top honors in 2008.
When the teams met last year, Utah took the match 5-2. The Utes also lead the series record at 43-32. BYU has not defeated Utah since 2007 when the Cougars earned a 4-3 win in Provo.
“Rivalry matches are what makes being a collegiate athlete fun,” Pearce said. “They are what make sports fun.”
Saturday’s match begins at noon at the Liberty Park Tennis Center, weather permitting. If the temperature is below 50 degrees or it rains, the match will be moved to the Eccles Tennis Center.