Cougars Keep Top Spot in Conference
PROVO -- Cassidy Mears’ three-set win clinched a 4-3 victory over No. 56 San Diego State Friday. With the win, the No. 35 Cougars remained the only undefeated team in the Mountain West Conference and improved to 19-5 on the season.
“The pleasure of coaching is seeing guys under intense pressure playing with heart for their team,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “This is what makes college tennis fun—watching two teams leaving it all on the court when it could go either way.”
In doubles play, Ricardo Campos and Evan Urbina earned the only pairs win, an 8-5 decision on court three. San Diego State took the match at the No. 2 spot at 8-6. Mears and Thomas Shubert forced a tiebreak on court one but fell to give the Aztecs the doubles point.
“I have to tip my hat to San Diego State,” Pearce said. “The team came in here, fought hard and were right there. They deserve a lot of credit.”
Shubert quickly evened the score, handily defeating his opponent 6-4, 6-1 at the No. 1 position. SDSU came back and secured two more wins to extend its lead to 3-1.
“Our guys just don’t quit and that’s what it’s all about,” Pearce said.
For the second time in as many weeks, the Cougars rallied back to win the match. Spencer Smith and Georgy Batrakov recorded straight-set wins to tie the score at three-all. Mears trailed Luis Rattenhuber 4-2 in the first set before coming back to win 6-4. Rattenhuber came back and won the second 6-3. In the critical third set, BYU’s captain found himself down 4-2 again. He won four consecutive games to clinch the match for the Cougars.
Saturday, BYU will play its last home match of the season. The squad will face No. 58 UNLV at 1 p.m. at the Outdoor Tennis Courts. Admission is free, and the team will provide pizza for fans. All BYU “Y Lot” parking lots are open to the public all day Saturday.
No. 35 BYU-4
No. 56 SDSU-3
1. Vladimirschii/Vaglietti (SDSU) def. Mears/Shubert (BYU) 9-8 (7-4)
2. Gomez/Rattenhuber (SDSU) def. Batrakov/Hwang (BYU) 8-6
3. Campos/Urbina (BYU) def. Feliz/Schulz van Endert (SDSU) 8-5
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
1. T. Shubert (BYU) def. A. Vladimirschii (SDSU) 6-4, 6-1
2. J. Gomez (SDSU) def. E. Urbina (BYU) 6-1, 6-4
3. G. Batrakov (BYU) def. G. Vaglietti (SDSU) 6-2, 6-3
4. C. Mears (BYU) def. L. Rattenhuber (SDSU) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
5. S. Smith (BYU) def. A. Feliz (SDSU) 6-4, 6-3
6. T. Schulz van Endert (SDSU) def. R. Campos (BYU) 6-1, 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 6, 5, 3, 4
Last Homestand for Netters
PROVO -- For the final time this season, the No. 35 BYU men’s tennis team will play two matches on its home courts. The Cougars will face No. 56 San Diego State Friday and No. 58 UNLV Saturday.
“We’re preparing mentally and physically, and I’m confident our players will be ready,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “We’re looking forward to playing on our home courts in front of a great home crowd.”
First up for BYU will be San Diego State. The Aztecs, along with BYU, currently top the Mountain West Conference charts with a 3-0 record against league teams. SDSU earned doubleheader sweeps last week along with a 4-3 win over New Mexico to improve to 9-11 overall. Last season, the Cougars defeated the Aztecs 5-2 in regular-season play but lost 4-0 in the conference tournament.
“Friday’s match is a battle of the undefeated conference teams,” Pearce said. “It’s a big match for both sides, and we’re simply focusing on the things we have control over.”
UNLV (12-8, 2-1) is coming off a 4-3 win against New Mexico and a 6-1 victory over Air Force last week. BYU earned its first conference win of the season against UNLV last year in a 6-1 contest in Salt Lake City. Mehdi Bouras is the only ranked player for the Rebels and comes in at No. 121.
“UNLV has had some good wins this season and is a team we cannot take lightly,” Pearce said. “We’re expecting two good, tough matches this weekend.”
First serve is set for 1 p.m. both days. Play will be at the BYU Outdoor Tennis Courts. The courts are located south of the soccer field. Admission is free, and the team will provide pizza and prizes for fans. All BYU “Y Lot” parking lots are open to the public after 4 p.m. Friday and all day Saturday.