PROVO -- The No. 35 BYU men’s tennis team will head to Las Vegas for the Mountain West Conference Championship this week. The Cougars (21-5, 6-0 MWC) earned the No. 1 seed and will begin play Friday against the winner of the TCU/Utah match.
“We’re certainly not taking anything for granted,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “We will be well prepared for Friday.”
This is the first time since the inception of the MWC in 1999 that BYU has won the regular-season championship and secured the No. 1 seed going into the tournament. The Cougars started with conference play with wins against Air Force and New Mexico before losing to non-conference opponent SMU. BYU came back to tally back-to-back 4-3 wins over TCU and San Diego State. The team completed a perfect conference record by sweeping UNLV and defeating Utah 6-1.
“We feel great about winning the regular season championship,” Pearce said. “But we realize that every team in this conference is good and dangerous.”
Tournament play begins Wednesday when No. 4 TCU takes on No. 5 Utah. Also facing off that day will be No. 2 San Diego State and No. 7 Air Force as well as No. 3 New Mexico and No. 6 UNLV.
BYU’s first opponent will be either TCU or Utah. The Horned Frogs are currently the No. 69 team in the nation with one ranked doubles pair coming in at No. 72. TCU fell to 9-12 on the season after dropping a match to No. 10 Texas A&M last Friday. When the Cougars and Horned Frogs met earlier this season, TCU jumped out to a 3-0 lead. BYU rallied back to capture all remaining matches and continue its unbeaten conference streak.
Utah was the last match of the regular season for the Cougars. With the loss to BYU, the Utes fell to 7-15 on the season and 2-4 in the conference standings. Phillip Eilers was the only Utah player to notch a singles win, recording a three-set victory over Thomas Shubert at the No. 1 position.
“We’ll have some time to adjust to the environment and conditions down in Las Vegas,” Pearce said. “The team has typically done better when we’ve had a chance to be at a school early.”
Friday’s semifinal match begins at 10 a.m. PT at the Fertitta Tennis Complex in Las Vegas. The championship match will be played in the same location at 10 a.m. PT Saturday.