Victory Helps Team Clinch Share of MWC Title
COLORADO SPRINGS -- In a come-from-behind victory, the No. 68 BYU men's tennis team beat the fifty-fifth ranked Lobos of New Mexico 4-3 on Saturday and claimed a share of the regular-season Mountain West Conference Championship. The Cougars share the title with UNM and No. 35 San Diego State.
"This was a great win for us," said BYU head coach Jim Osborne. "We knew coming in to this match that the only way we could get a share of the regular-season title would be to beat New Mexico. I am just so proud of our guys and the way they played."
The Cougars started the match off slow and lost the doubles point to the Lobos. Jose Lechuga and Anton Rudjuk were the only Cougars to win in doubles, which they did by beating Bart Scott and Jasmin Hodzic 9-7 at the No. 2 spot.
But in singles, BYU came out ready and focused on UNM. Erik Nyman, Carlos Lozano and Jose Lechuga all won at the top three spots, but the match came down to the No. 5 spot. Alonso Medina won the first set 6-4 and then proceeded to lose the second to Henry Gers 3-6. In the third and final set, Medina was down 5-2 but fought back to get it to 5-4. Gers had match point at 5-4, but Medina held him off and won the third set 7-6 in a tiebreaker, clinching the victory for the Cougars.
"Alonso (Medina) really stepped up for us today," said Osborne. "I am glad to see that we can fight back when we are down. We are playing really good right now, which is great with the conference tournament coming up in two weeks."
Before the match, UNM was the only remaining unbeaten team in MWC play.
With the regular season finished, the Cougars will have next week to prepare for the MWC tournament, which will be held in Provo beginning on April 24 and going through the 26.
No. 68 BYU def. No. 55 New Mexico, 4-3
1. Erik Nyman (BYU) def. Bart Scott (UNM) 6-3, 6-3
2. Carlos Lozano (BYU) def. Divan Coetzee (UNM) 7-6, 6-7, 6-3
3. Jose Lechuga (BYU) def. David Kowalski (UNM) 6-4, 6-3
4. Brent Salazar (UNM) def. Jeff Olsen (BYU) 6-4, 6-3
5. Alonso Medina (BYU) def. Henry Gers (UNM) 6-4, 3-6, 7-6
6. Jasmin Hodzic (UNM) def. Anton Rudjuk (BYU) 5-7, 6-3, 6-1
1. Ryan Stotland/Salazar (UNM) def. Lozano/Nyman (BYU) 8-4
2. Lechuga/Rudjuk (BYU) def. Scott/Hoczic (UNM) 9-7
3. Coetzee/Kowalski (UNM) def. Medina/Olsen (BYU) 8-6
PROVO -- The BYU men's tennis team (8-10) are on the road in Colorado Springs this week as they conclude the regular season against Air Force and No. 55 New Mexico. The Cougars currently have a 2-1 record in MWC play.
BYU comes into the match after winning two big conference matches last weekend. The Cougars beat Utah 4-3 on Thursday and UNLV 4-1 on Saturday. BYU lost a close match to No. 34 San Diego State, but will be looking to get a second seed in the upcoming MWC tournament by winning both matches this weekend.
"These last two matches are really important for us," said BYU head coach Jim Osborne. "With only six teams in the conference, it's always nice to finish the regular season as one of the top two teams so that you don't have to play in the first round of the tournament. We are just going to focus on the doubles point and play hard in singles."
Air Force comes into the match with an impressive 17-3 overall record and a 1-1 conference record. The Falcons have been off for two weeks and will be ready to face the Cougars.
New Mexico is currently ranked 55th in the nation and has a 9-5 record and is a perfect 2-0 in conference play. They recently had big wins over No. 34 SDSU and UNLV and will be looking to close out the regular season going undefeated in conference play. They will play Utah, BYU and Air Force this weekend.
After this weekend, the Cougars will have a week off as they prepare for the MWC tournament, which will be held in Provo from April 24 through the 26.