SPOKANE, Wash. – In the last match of the day, freshman John Pearce earned the decisive point for a 4-3 victory, giving No. 39 BYU men’s tennis team the win over No. 72 Idaho on Friday.
The win over Idaho (20-5) secured a four-year undefeated record through mountain region action for BYU (18-4). The match also marked the seventh consecutive win for the Cougars as they improve to 8-2 against ranked teams this season.
BYU started off strong by claiming the doubles point with wins on courts 2 and 3.
“Being undefeated in region play for four years is really a testament to the discipline and fight in our Cougar players,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “I was pleased with our guys for coming up with the doubles point. I think that really got us started on the right foot. This was a very, very good team so the doubles point was important for us.”
In singles play, sophomore Keaton Cullimore won his tenth consecutive match and was the first to finish as he quickly topped Cristobal Ramos Salazar 6-3, 6-2 on court 4. The Vandals then earned two points of their own at the No. 2 and 5 positions.
Next to finish was No. 42 Patrick Kawka who played a long three-set match before defeating Dmitry Perevoshchikov 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
On court 3, Idaho’s Jose Bendeck narrowly beat Francis Sargeant 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 to tie the score 3-3.
“The setup tonight had us playing on five courts simultaneously, so we were hoping to get the win without having to play the sixth position because John [Pearce] spent all night and almost the entire day sick with food poisoning,” coach Pearce said. “We didn’t think he would play his doubles match today, let alone singles. But it was such a close match that we needed him to play.”
Pearce went on to win the first set 6-1 then got up 5-0 in the second before finishing off Ivan Krijanto 6-1 in the second set for the clinching BYU point.
"I’m so proud of this team for having so many different members stepping up when they are called on and having a heroic effort,” coach Pearce said. “I think it was John’s turn today and he stepped up when we needed him which was an amazing effort considering he hadn't eaten any food or been able to keep any liquid down for the entire day."
The Cougars return to league play and wrap up their three-match road trip on Saturday as they face Gonzaga at 10:30 a.m. PDT.