Men's Tennis Earns 20th Win
PROVO -- In the last home match of the season, the No. 35 BYU men’s tennis team notched a 7-0 win over No. 58 UNLV. With the win, the Cougars remain the only undefeated team in the Mountain West Conference.
Saturday’s victory marks the 20th of the year for BYU. This is the first time the men’s tennis team has tallied 20 wins in a season since 1988.
“Our guys played inspired tennis Saturday,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “Our goal was to come out and compete at every position, and I couldn’t be more proud of our players.”
UNLV took the first doubles match with an 8-5 victory on court three, but BYU bounced back to capture the other two and win the point. Thomas Shubert and Cassidy Mears defeated their Rebel opponents 8-5 at the No. 1 position. Georgy Batrakov and Daniel Hwang notched their 20th doubles victory of the season with an 8-6 decision at the No. 2 spot.
“We played a little tight in doubles but got the point, which is the goal,” Pearce said.
The first singles win of the day came from Spencer Smith. The freshman was in the middle of his first set when UNLV’s Bernard Schoeman retired with an arm injury. Batrakov put BYU on the edge of victory with a 6-0, 6-3 on court three. Shubert clinched the match by overcoming Mehdi Bouras in straight sets.
“No person let up after we clinched the match,” Pearce said. “Everybody kept fighting and competing.”
Hwang tallied another win for the Cougars at the No. 6 position to extend BYU’s lead to 5-0. In his last home match of his collegiate career, senior Mears won a first-set tiebreak and then the second set 6-4.
“I couldn’t say enough good things about Cassidy, his leadership on and off the court has meant so much to this team,” Pearce said. “Each player wanted to get his individual job done to make this last home match special for Cassidy.”
Evan Urbina was the last BYU player left on the court. He won his first set against Rebel Luca Barlocchi 6-4 but lost the second 5-7. Urbina and Barlocchi played a 10-point tiebreak because the match result was set. The Cougar won 10-3 to complete the sweep for BYU.
“Our goal was to win the regular season championship and follow it up with the tournament championship,” Pearce said. “We have just one match ahead of us. We’re going to be prepared, stay focused and do the things we’ve been doing in all of our other matches.”
That final match will be next Saturday against Utah in Salt Lake City. First serve is set for noon at Liberty Park.
No. 35 BYU-7
No. 58 UNLV-0
1. Mears/Shubert (BYU) def. Barlocchi/Bouras (UNLV) 8-5
2. Batrakov/Hwang (BYU) def. Markel/Schoeman (UNLV) 8-6
3. Konyves/Toth (UNLV) def. Campos/Urbina (BYU) 8-5
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2
1. T. Shubert (BYU) def. No. 121 M. Bouras (UNLV) 7-6(7-3), 6-4
2. E. Urbina (BYU) def. L. Barlocchi (UNLV) 6-4, 5-7, 10-3
3. G. Batrakov (BYU) def. J. Markel (UNLV) 6-0, 6-3
4. C. Mears (BYU) def. A. Toth (UNLV) 7-6 (7-1), 6-4
5. S. Smith (BYU) def. B. Schoeman (UNLV) 2-5 (ret.)
6. D. Hwang (BYU) def. K. Konyves (UNLV) 6-3, 6-4
Order of Finish: 5, 3, 1, 6, 4, 2
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.