PROVO -- With fired-up players and an animated crowd, the No. 45 BYU men’s tennis team defeated regional rival No. 29 Boise State 5-2 Saturday night. The Cougars improve their record to 11-1 with the upset and remain undefeated at home this season. This is the first time the squad has beaten BSU since 2002.
“Our guys were ready to play and that showed,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “It’s my first win [as head coach] over a Boise State team and that feels good.”
BYU showed it came ready to play with solid doubles performances across the board. Spencer Smith and Evan Urbina were first off the court with an 8-4 win at the No. 2 position. BYU pair Cassidy Mears and Thomas Shubert kept things close until they finally got the break they were looking for and clinched the doubles point with an 8-5 victory.
“Everyone that’s been in college coaching long enough knows how important it is to win the doubles point,” Pearce said. “You don’t have to win it but it sure helps.”
Georgy Batrakov and Daniel Hwang led most of the match and completed the sweep by defeating Erik Sheldon and Harry Skinner 8-6 on court three. The Cougars are now 9-0 on the season when winning the doubles point.
With a pairs sweep under its belt, BYU came out firing on all cylinders in singles. Batrakov won the first individual contest of the match after making quick work of BSU’s Filipp Pogostkin. It was almost another hour before any of the other matches were decided. Mears brought the score to 3-0 with a straight-set victory on court three.
Urbina won his first set 6-4 but Bronco Vicente Joli stormed back in the second to force a tiebreak to decide the set. After countless rallies and impressive tennis from both sides, the Cougar was able to clinch the set (14-12) and the upset for BYU.
“It was an incredible atmosphere and that helped our guys,” Pearce said. “It kept them pumped up and we were able to sustain momentum because of the crowd’s efforts.”
BSU’s James Meredith, the No. 36 player in the country, was the first Bronco to record a victory on the night. He came out on the winning end of a three-set match with No. 98 Shubert on court one.
Smith added another point for BYU with his defeat of Cristian Hodel at the No. 6 spot. Five hours after the match began, Hwang was the only Cougar left on the court. He lost the first set but rallied back to win the second. Because the match result was set, Hwang and BSU’s Jeff Mullen played a 10-point tiebreak rather than a full third set. Play went back and forth before Mullen earned the second win for the Broncos at 10-8.
“Everyone did a terrific job,” Pearce said. “I can’t say enough good things about everyone’s contribution today and that’s what it takes to beat good teams.”
The Cougars will hit the road again next week when they travel to Texas for the HEB Tournament of Champions Classic at Texas Tech.
No. 45 BYU-5
No. 29 Boise State-2
1. Mears/Shubert (BYU) def. Meredith/Mullen (BSU) 8-5
2. Smith/Urbina (BYU) def. Joli/Pogostkin (BSU) 8-4
3. Batrakov/Hwang (BYU) def. Sheldon/Skinner (BSU) 8-6
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3
1. No. 36 J. Meredith (BSU) def. No. 98 T. Shubert (BYU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
2. E. Urbina (BYU) def. V. Joli (BSU) 6-4, 7-6 (14)
3. C. Mears (BYU) def. H. Skinner (BSU) 6-4, 6-2
4. G. Batrakov (BYU) def. F. Pogostkin (BSU) 6-1, 6-2
5. S. Smith (BYU) def. C. Hodel (BSU) 6-1, 7-6 (7-4)
6. J. Mullen (BSU) def. D. Hwang (BYU) 6-4, 4-6, (10-8)
Order of Finish: 4, 3, 2, 1, 5, 6
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