Men’s tennis 2017-18 season review
PROVO, Utah – The 2017-18 men’s tennis team concluded the season with an overall record of 18-7 and 7-2 in West Coast Conference play, finishing second behind San Diego.
Several players received All-WCC honors and All-Academic awards.
BYU opened the season with two wins at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida and remained undefeated (7-0) before falling to Utah State. The team also traveled to Indian Wells, California to compete in the Oracle Collegiate Challenge and played in the same facility as tennis professionals competing in the BNP Paribas Open. BYU was nationally ranked as high as No. 38 during the season.
The Cougars were projected to finish fourth in the WCC but they surpassed expectations with a second place finish. BYU went into the WCC tournament as the No. 2 seed but came up short versus LMU in the semifinal round. The Cougars dropped only two conference matches during the league race against No. 42 San Diego and Santa Clara.
Sophomore Sean Hill began the season with a national ranking of No. 89 after winning the ITA Mountain Regional Championship in singles. He represented the Cougars and the region at the ITA National Fall Championships. Hill was named to the All-WCC First Team Singles, posting a 3-1 conference record and a 12-5 overall record in the No. 1 slot.
Hill and junior Jeffrey Hsu were named to the All-WCC Second Team Doubles with an 11-5 record in the No. 1 slot. The duo earned WCC Doubles Team of the Week honors twice during the season and went 10-0 before dropping their first match to UC Irvine. Hill and Hsu defeated No. 53 duo Tim Handel and Ruben Montano of Northern Arizona early in the season.
Hsu received All-WCC Honorable Mention and was the only Cougar to earn WCC Singles Player of the Week after victories against UC Irvine and San Diego in the No. 2 slot. He completed the season with a 9-12 record.
Sophomore Sam Tullis led BYU in singles victories with an 18-6, 7-2 record. Tullis received All-WCC Honorable Mention and WCC All-Academic Honorable Mention awards.
Senior John Pearce completed his BYU career with a 14-5 singles record and a 15-7 doubles mark. He made his third appearance on the WCC All-Academic team. Pearce was the only Cougar to win in both singles and doubles in the heart-breaking loss to rival Utah State. He finishes his BYU career with a singles record of 65-41 and a 61-38 doubles record.
Beginning the season 13-0 in singles, freshman Ben Gajardo made a mark in his first collegiate tennis season. Gajardo finished his freshman campaign with a 17-4 record in singles play and went 13-6 in doubles. He primarily played in the No. 5 slot. Gajardo earned a three-set win over Kyle Butters of Boise State to lead BYU to a 4-3 victory and remain undefeated 7-0 early in the season.
Junior Matthew Pearce and sophomore David Ball contributed to wins throughout the season and led the team as Co-captains, along with John Pearce and Tullis. Matthew Pearce tallied a 7-8, 3-0 record in singles and was named to the WCC All-Academic Team. Ball ended the season with a 4-5, 2-1 record mainly competing in the No. 6 position in singles play while receiving All-Academic Honorable Mention honors.
With only John Pearce graduating, BYU looks to build on this year's success heading into next season as it returns the majority of the team and brings in a highly-touted group of recruits in Kobe Tran, Mateo Vereau Melendez and Vinicius Feijao Nogueira.