PROVO, Utah – The BYU women's tennis team capped off the regular season with a big 4-3 comeback win over West Coast Conference foe Saint Mary's Saturday at home.
"I’m very proud of the team today," BYU head coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said. "There was so much heart and fight on the court today. We came up a little short in doubles and lost it by only a few points. The girls did great to let it go and focus ahead on singles. We were down multiple match points on both 1 and 2 singles but stayed tough and pulled out two big wins. We’re not done yet though and are going to focus on playing strong next week in the conference tournament."
The No. 60 doubles team in the nation, Senior Mayci Jones and freshman Anastasia Abramyan, took the first win of the day in No. 1 doubles against No. 27 ranked Mariia Kozyreva and Hind Abdelouahid of Saint Mary's with a dominate 6-1 victory.
The Gaels' Kareena Manji and Emma Critser responded, defeating sophomores Kate Cusick and Polina Malykh, 6-2. The doubles decision came down to No. 3 doubles of sophomore Samantha Smith and junior Taylah Beckman against Aubane Ville and Clementine Clement of Saint Mary's. Both teams battled it out and brought the match to 5-5, until the Gaels prevailed with a 7-5 win to secure the doubles point.
Freshman Madeline Almeida, playing in the No. 5 singles position, got BYU on the board for the first time of the day with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Saint Mary's Emma Critser to tie the match at 1-1. In No. 4 singles, Cusick lost the first set to Manji and was down 4-1 before fighting back to narrow the gap to 5-4 before ultimately falling 6-2, 6-4 as Saint Mary's gained a 2-1 lead.
The Cougars regained some ground after Smith won a decisive victory in No. 6 singles against the Gaels' Vannessa Nommensen, 6-2, 6-2 to tie the match at 2-2.
In No. 3 singles, Clement and Malykh both battled it out to take the lead for their respective teams, and took the match into three sets. However, Clement prevailed in the third to win the match 6-2, 0-6, 6-2 and put the Gaels ahead 3-2.
Down a point with the match on the line, Abramyan faced off against Saint Mary's Hind Abdelouahid in No. 2 singles. After dropping the first set, Abramyan fought back to send the second set to a tiebreaker. Down 6-1 in the tiebreak, the freshman overcame the large deficit to win the second set and take the third for an incredible 5-7, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 victory, tying the match once more at 3-3.
The match decision came down to a battle in No. 1 singles between Jones and Kozyreva. After falling in a close first set, Jones surged back in the second set to win it in a tiebreaker and force a third deciding set. The two traded shots throughout the entire set and went into another tight tiebreaker until Jones prevailed in story-book fashion to win her final home match at BYU 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4) and give the Cougars a 4-3 win.
"I’m so happy for Mayci," Jones said. "To be able to pull through and clinch on senior day - it’s a great way to end the regular season."
BYU will travel to Claremont, California, this week for the WCC Championship held from April 26-28. The remainder of WCC matches to be played this weekend will determine the Cougars' final seeding.
BYU 4, Saint Mary's 3
1. Mayci Jones (BYU) def. Mariia Kozyreva (SMC) 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4)
2. Anastasia Abramyan (BYU) def. Hind Abdelouahid (SMC) 5-7, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2
3. Clementine Clement (SMC) def. Polina Malykh (BYU) 6-3, 0-6, 6-2
4. Kareena Manji (SMC) def. Kate Cusick (BYU) 6-2, 6-4
5. Madeline Almeida (BYU) def. Emma Critser (SMC) 6-1, 6-2
6. Samantha Smith (BYU) def. Vanessa Nommensen (SMC) 6-2, 6-2
1. Mayci Jones/Anastasia Abramyan (BYU) def. Mariia Kozyreva/Hind Abdelouahid (SMC) 6-1
2. Kareena Manji/Emma Critser (SMC) def. Kate Cusick/Polina Malykh (BYU) 6-2
3. Aubane Ville/Clementine Clement (SMC) def. Taylah Beckman/Samantha Smith (BYU) 7-5
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (5,4,6,3,2,1)