BYU falls 4-3 in close match with New Mexico


PROVO, Utah – For the second-straight week, BYU men’s tennis fell 4-3 in a back-and-forth dual match, this time against New Mexico. The Lobos won the doubles point on a tiebreaker before winning the final three singles matches.

“The team’s energy today was higher, everyone was cheering for and supporting each other. The fans that came were helpful and supportive,” said BYU head coach Dave Porter. “We didn't close out a couple of matches like we could have. There are things that we learned that we need to work on. We're getting back to work tomorrow morning with some hitting before we head up to Utah State, who we’re looking forward to having a good match with on Saturday.”

Wally Thayne, Jack Barnett and Mateo Vereau won their singles matches for the Cougars. Barnett and partner Brigham Andrus earned a victory in doubles as well.



1. Alex Maggs/Jan Pucalka (UNM) def. Wally Thayne/Zach Fuchs (BYU) 7-6 (1)
2. Arda Azkara/Aram Noroozian (UNM) def. Mateo Vereau/Dominik Jakovljevic (BYU) 7-5
3. Jack Barnett/Brigham Andrus (BYU) def. Rafael Abdulsalam/Georgio Samaha (UNM) 6-4

Order of finish: 3, 2, 1

BYU went up first at No. 3 doubles with Barnett and Andrus’ comeback win. An early break put the UNM side up 4-1 but the Cougars responded by taking five-straight games. Andrus served for the match with his side up 5-4 but was nearly broken after going down 40-30. He responded by landing an ace, with Barnett backpedaling to an overhead slam on the next point to secure the win.

The Lobos got their first doubles win in the No. 2 spot. That match saw five games won by the receiving team, including four out of five straight to put Azkara and Noroozian up 6-5. Vereau and Jakovljevic were unable to land another break, giving UNM the 7-5 victory.

The doubles point then came down to the No. 1 match, which saw Thayne and Fuchs up 6-5 after each team held their serves. The Cougars had three match points while receiving but Maggs and Pucalka came back to force a tiebreaker. BYU would score first but UNM converted on the next seven to take the tiebreaker and match.


1. Wally Thayne (BYU) def. Arda Azkara (UNM) 6-4, 6-1
2. Jack Barnett (BYU) def. Rafael Abdulsalam (UNM) 6-2, 7-5
3. Mateo Vereau (BYU) def. Nikolay Sysoev (UNM) 6-2, 7-6 (6)
4. Aram Noroozian (UNM) def. Zach Fuchs (BYU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
5. Matsushita Ryoma (UNM) def. Dominik Jakovljevic (BYU) 6-4, 6-1
6. Georgio Samaha (UNM) def. Redd Owen (BYU) 6-3, 6-4

Order of finish: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Thayne got the Cougars on the board in quick order at No. 1 singles, winning in straight sets. In the first he survived a long rally before powering a shot over the top of Azkara for a break and 4-3 advantage. He later served for the set up 5-4, staving off two break points and ultimately winning the set with an ace. The second set was much quicker, with Thayne going up 4-0 before finishing on deuce point again to take the victory 6-4, 6-1.

Barnett grabbed a straight-set victory of his own at No. 2 singles, which started off strong as an early break put him up 2-0. He added another break later in the set on a strong backhand return before winning an 18-point rally on deuce point to take the first set 6-2.

The second set also started with a Barnett break but Abdulsalam added one of his own to tie the score at 1. The pair traded four-straight breaks later in the set to reach a 5-5 tie, with Barnett then adding another to take a 6-5 advantage. He would go on to hold his serve, winning another long rally with a lob shot to secure the match.

Vereau made it three-straight wins for BYU at No. 3 singles, taking an early advantage after a 6-2 set one victory. Set two saw Vereau build another large lead, 3-0, with two quick breaks. The receiver ended up winning eight of the first 10 games between the two, resulting in a 5-5 tie. Sysoev held his serve and later had a set point with Vereau serving but Vereau won the deuce point to send the set to a tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker started 3-3 before Vereau put together two straight to go up 5-3. Sysoev responded with two consecutive points of his own, with the two then trading points to a 6-all score. Vereau was able to get back in front with a break point, ultimately holding his serve to win 8-6.

The Lobos got their first win at No. 4 singles. Fuchs took the first set 6-4, holding serve in the final game without giving up a point and finishing with a powerful ace. Noroozian responded with four-straight games to take the second 6-2. He also had three-straight games to open the third, with his 3-0 advantage ultimately prevailing in a 6-3 UNM set win.

New Mexico tied the dual match, 3-3, with a result at No. 5 singles. An early break put Matsushita up 2-1 in the first, but Jakovljevic then had a break of his own to force a 2-2 tie. Matsushita subsequently added another break, maintaining that advantage to ultimately take the set 6-4. The second set also started with a break on each side, but Matsushita would go on to win five-straight games to take the set 6-1.

The dual match was then decided at No. 6 singles, where Samaha started with a 3-1 lead in the first set. Owen rallied with two breaks to only trail 4-3, but Samaha secured the final two games to take set one 6-3. Owen went down again in the second, falling behind 5-2. He recovered with two-straight games and had a chance to tie the set at 5 on a deuce point. Samaha would hold his serve on the rally, however, delivering a 6-4 victory for UNM in the second set and handing the Lobos the dual match victory.

BYU’s next match sees the team travel to Logan, Utah, this Saturday for a match against Utah State, which begins at 12:00 p.m. MST.