PROVO, UTAH – Freshman Kate Cusick earned a victory at third singles to help BYU women's tennis defeat the University of Houston 4-1 on Saturday at the BYU indoor tennis courts.
"The girls came out in singles and played hard and with lots of energy and we were able to hold strong and pull out the victory," BYU head coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said. "Today's win was a great momentum builder for us as we head into conference play."
Houston (9-9, 1-2 American Athletic Conference) gave BYU (5-8, 0-0 West Coast Conference) tough competition in doubles play, winning at first and second doubles to score the match's first point. The Houston Cougars were short one player and forfeited the No. 6 singles match, giving BYU a point as the teams moved to singles.
Freshman Samantha Smith was first off the courts in singles with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Houston's Constanden Nicolaou at the No. 4 slot to give BYU a 2-1 advantage. Playing on the top court for the Cougars, senior Savannah Ware-Avina continued her winning streak with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Houston's Sveva Mazzari. With the Cougars' leading 3-1, Cusick clinched the match at No. 3 singles with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) victory against Houston's Cristina Rovira.
Next weekend, BYU will remain at home for two matches. The Cougars will host Portland on Friday, March 31 at noon MDT before facing Gonzaga on Saturday, April 1 at noon.
BYU 4, Houston 1
1. Savannah Ware-Avina (BYU) def. MAZZARI, Sveva (HOU) 6-3, 6-1
2. Natella Nabieva (BYU) vs. ALTER, Lauren (HOU) 7-5, 5-5, unfinished
3. Kate Cusick (BYU) def. ROVIRA, Cristina (HOU) 6-2, 7-6 (7-4)
4. Samantha Smith (BYU) def. NICOLAOU, Constanden (HOU) 6-2, 6-0
5. Taylah Beckman (BYU) vs. GLUMAC, Ana (HOU) 5-1, unfinished
6. Demi Perkinson (BYU) def. No player (HOU), by default
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,4,1,3)
PROVO, Utah – After three straight road matches, the BYU women's tennis team hosts Utah State and the University of Houston this weekend.
BYU (3-8, 0-1 West Coast Conference) will face Utah State (9-5, 0-0 Mountain West Conference) on Friday, March 24 at noon MDT at the BYU tennis courts. The Cougars will square off against the University of Houston (8-8, 1-2 American Athletic Conference) on Saturday, March 25 at 11 a.m. In the case of inclement weather, Saturday's match will begin at 10 a.m. and will be played at the BYU indoor courts.
BYU looks to snap a three-game losing streak after tough away matches against the University of Hawai'i, Long Beach State and the University of San Diego. The Cougars look to improve on a 3-2 home record and are led by senior Savannah Ware-Avina who has 15 singles victories during the 2016-17 campaign.
Utah State fell 4-3 last week to Georgetown but picked up wins earlier in the season over Seton Hall, UTEP, Montana and Grand Canyon. The Aggies defeated the Cougars in the teams' last meeting in Provo in 2015 by the score of 4-3.
Houston has won three of its past four matches and will face the University of Utah prior to playing BYU on Saturday. The UH Cougars are 4-5 on the road this season with wins against UTEP, New Mexico State, Kansas State and UConn.
Both matches will be played at the BYU outdoor tennis courts, weather permitting. Admission is free and free pizza will be provided to fans attending the match. Live stats are available on the women’s tennis schedule page.