Cougars return after big presence in California


LOS -- After a positive run in the Southern California Intercollegiate Championships, the BYU men’s tennis team returns home to prepare for a strong showing in the winter season.

Patrick Kawka and Evan Urbina narrowly lost to the No. 1 seed in the doubles tournament—Hugh Clarke and Alex Llompart of Pepperdine—Saturday. The semifinal match went to a tiebreaker when the teams reached eight games each. Clarke and Llompart went on to take the match 9-8 and advance to the finals.

“It was a great match, one of the best matches I’ve seen as BYU assistant men’s tennis coach,” said Zack Warren, who accompanied the athletes to California. “The guys competed really well.”

In the consolation singles rounds, Urbina went up against UC Irvine athlete Ryan Mayer and grabbed the win 6-2, 6-1. Urbina went on to lose a hard-fought match against USC’s J.T. Sundling after taking the first set 6-2. Sundling won the second set 7-5 and took the tiebreaker 10-6.

The tournament saw some big Cougar upsets, including freshman Kawka defeating No. 2 seeded Daniel Kosakowski of UCLA in the singles Round of 32 Thursday(7-5, 3-6, 6-4). Kosakowski was one of the top recruits for fall 2010 and ranked No. 5 in the nation as a junior.

Kawka and Urbina also defeated No. 4 seeded Peter Lucassen and Raymond Sarmiento of USC 8-6 in the doubles quarterfinals Friday. USC claimed the NCAA Championships title in 2009 and 2010.

“Overall, it was a successful tournament for BYU men’s tennis,” Warren said.

Next up, the Cougars will take on in-state opponents Utah State and Weber State on Jan. 14 in Provo.