First-ever battle with No. 24 UCF ends in 4-3 loss

BYU men’s tennis dropped a 4-3 heartbreaker to No. 24 UCF at the USTA National Campus Saturday night. The loss came despite a doubles point victory and singles wins from Jack Barnett and Wally Thayne.

Wally ThayneWally Thayne

ORLANDO, Fla. — BYU men’s tennis dropped a 4-3 heartbreaker to No. 24 UCF at the USTA National Campus Saturday night. The loss came despite a doubles point victory and singles wins from Jack Barnett and Wally Thayne.

No. 123 Barnett moves to 10-7 on the year at No. 1 singles while Thayne’s singles win improves the junior’s record to 14-5 at the No. 2 slot. The Cougars’ doubles point clinch came courtesy of a 6-3 win from Barnett and Redd Owen and a 7-5 triumph for TJ Wells and Tygen Goldammer. Thayne and Zach Fuchs led 6-5 before the match went unfinished.

“We battled like we’ve done all year,” said BYU head coach Zack Warren. “Really proud of the team for putting themselves in a position to win on the road at a top-25 venue. We played quality tennis today against a very good opponent. Doubles continues to get more solid with great wins on courts two and three and excellent wins on one and two for Jack and Wally in singles.”

The match marked the schools’ first all-time meeting as both programs are Big 12 newcomers this season.


1. Wally Thayne/Zach Fuchs (BYU) vs. Lleyton Cronje/Emilio Sanchez (UCF) 6-5 (unfinished)
2. Jack Barnett/Redd Owen (BYU) def. Santiago Giamichelle/Francisco Llanes (UCF) 6-3
3. TJ Wells/Tygen Goldammer (BYU) def. Paul Colin/Mehdi Benchakroun (UCF) 7-5

Order of finish: 2, 3

Barnett and Owen won first on court two. The duo secured an early break to go up 2-0 before UCF broke back to make it 2-2. Up 3-2 and 40-15, the pair both applied pressure at the net and forced a lob as Barnett switched to his right for an overhead slam, earning another break. A putaway by Owen on deuce point notched the 6-3 win.

Goldammer and Wells overcame an 0-3 deficit by winning four of five games to tie things up at 4-4. UCF then held serve to go up 5-4 and the Cougars faced a match point at 40-40 before UCF drilled a lob attempt long. BYU’s duo then got another break with aggressive net play to make it 6-5. The pair held serve as Wells nailed a putaway to win 7-5.

Fuchs and Thayne traded games with UCF’s Cronje and Sanchez on court one with each holding serve. At 5-5, a pivotal deuce point was authoritatively won at the net by Fuchs after a strong serve from Thayne. The match was abandoned at 6-5.


1. No. 123 Jack Barnett (BYU) def. Lleyton Cronje (UCF) 6-4, 6-3
2. Wally Thayne (BYU) def. Francisco Llanes (UCF) 6-2, 6-1
3. Paul Colin (UCF) def. Zach Fuchs (BYU) 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5)
4. Santiago Giamichelle (UCF) def. Redd Owen (BYU) 6-2, 6-0
5. Mehdi Benchakroun (UCF) def. David Duong (BYU) 6-2, 6-3
6. Emilio Sanchez (UCF) def. TJ Wells (BYU) 6-1, 6-4

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

Owen fell to Santiago Giamichelle on court four 2-6, 0-6. Next, Wally Thayne put the Cougars ahead 2-1 in the dual match tally with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Francisco Llanes. A backhand winner down the line notched a break and a 3-1 lead. He and Llanes each held serve until Thayne went up 5-2 with Llanes serving. Up 40-30, Thayne pressured the net as Llanes’ baseline shot was returned into the net. In set two, Thayne sealed a 6-1 win with an approach shot that was returned out.

TJ Wells competed at No. 6 singles for his seventh singles outing this year. The Alpine, Utah native fell 1-6 in the first set, but bounced back for a closer set two battle. With the score at 2-2, UCF’s Emilio Sanchez got a break before Wells fought back to tie the match at 4-4. Sanchez then notched a deuce point break and went on to win 6-4.

On court five, David Duong fell 6-2, 6-3. The freshman held serve through the first half of set two, including a deuce point win that saw him push UCF’s Mehdi Benchakroun to the backhand side, winning on a shot down the line that was returned out. At 3-3, Benchakroun won three straight to win his match.

The No. 1 singles matchup saw a straight sets win for Jack Barnett over Lleyton Cronje to even the team score at 3-3. Set one began at 3-3 before Barnett's first break. With a 5-3 lead and serving, UCF notched a break, but Barnett broke right back to win the set 6-4. Holding a 4-3 lead in set two, a deuce point double fault by Cronje gave the senior separation. At 40-40 and Barnett serving, he secured the win with a powerful forehand baseline shot that was returned out.

Fuchs’ three-set battle with Paul Colin became the deciding point on court three. After a dominating 6-1 opening set win, Fuchs went up 2-0 before Colin found momentum to claim set two 6-3. In the third set, Fuchs' putaway volley earned a break to go up 3-1. He held serve to go up 5-2 before Colin took three straight. Fuchs countered with a deuce point win, approaching the net as Colin’s shot sailed long. In the tiebreaker, he overcame an 0-3 deficit before falling 5-7.

Up Next
BYU will prepare for its regular season finale next Saturday, April 13 at Texas Tech. The opening serve will be at 1 p.m. MDT at the McLeod Tennis Center in Lubbock, Texas and will be streamed live on PlaySight.