PROVO -- For the first time since April 12, 2008, the No. 23 BYU men’s tennis team dropped a match at home. The Cougars fell 6-1 to No. 36 Nebraska Saturday, ending their 14-match home win streak.
“It’s disappointing when we have a good crowd and a highly-ranked team come to our home, and we can’t pull out the win,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “It hurts to let a great opportunity slip through our fingers, but we’ll learn from it.”
Cassidy Mears and Thomas Shubert downed No. 54 Calin Paar and David Bendheim 8-2 on court one to notch the only doubles win for BYU. Nebraska struck back at the No. 2 position earning an 8-5 victory. In the last match, Georgy Batrakov and Daniel Hwang were down 6-2 before rallying back to put the score at 6-5. The Cougar duo fought off two match points but eventually fell 8-6 to give the Huskers the doubles point.
Singles brought more trouble for BYU with Nebraska earning straight-set wins at the Nos. 1 and 4 spots to start things off. The score stood at 3-0 and the Huskers needed only one more victory to finish the upset. Evan Urbina split sets with No. 82 Paar and the result hinged on his match. NU’s Paar left nothing up to chance, decisively winning the third set and clinching the contest for the Huskers.
“There is so much parity in college tennis,” Pearce said. “Every team’s good and every team’s dangerous. If you don’t come ready to fight for every point, you’re in trouble.”
The Cougars continued to battle and Mears overcame his Nebraska challenger in a second-set tiebreak on court three. Despite solid efforts by Spencer Smith and Michael Eraso at the Nos. 5 and 6 positions, respectively, the Huskers took the last two matches to secure the 6-1 decision. With the loss, the team falls to 13-3 on the season.
“The bright spot was Cassidy Mears,” Pearce said. “He knows how to prepare himself, and you don’t have to be on top of him to have him perform well.”
BYU will remain at home next week when it hosts No. 45 San Diego Friday and the USTA College Shootout Saturday.
No. 23 BYU-1
No. 36 Nebraska-6
1. Mears/ Shubert (BYU) def. No. 54 Bendheim/Paar (NU) 8-2
2. Aumueller/Stenger (NU) def. Smith/Urbina (BYU) 8-5
3. Lindheim/Van Impe (NU) def. Batrakov/Hwang (BYU) 8-6
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
1. No. 113 C. Aumueller (NU) def. T. Shubert (BYU) 6-3, 6-2
2. No. 82 C. Paar (NU) def. E. Urbina (BYU) 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
3. C. Mears (BYU) def. F. Van Impe (NU) 6-3, 7-6 (7-3)
4. D. Bendheim (NU) def. G. Batrakov (BYU) 7-5, 6-0
5. B. Lindheim (NU) def. S. Smith (BYU) 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
6. A. Stenger (NU) def. M. Eraso (BYU) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
Order of Finish: 1, 4, 2, 3, 5, 6
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