BYU started the 2001-2002 tennis season on the right foot this weekend finishing tied for third at the World Team Tennis National Collegiate Championships in San Diego. Three women and two men led the Cougars to a semifinal placing at the 16-team tournament.
BYU would have met Alabama in the third place match, but did not play because it would have been played on Sunday. Alabama and BYU shared third place for the tournament.
BYU went undefeated in pool play to advance to the semifinals. On Friday, BYU defeated San Diego 27-18, then knocked off Texas A&M 26-19 in the afternoon. BYU beat Oklahoma City 26-21 Saturday morning to advance to the semifinals.
In the semifinals, South Alabama handed the Cougars their first loss of the tournament, 29-16. BYU's highly talented doubles team of Gert Vilms and Carlos Lozano scored the only victory in the match, winning their doubles match 6-5.
The team format allowed substitutions within the match and a unique scoring system that determined the winner by most games won, not necessarily matches. The scoring format helped Oklahoma State walk away with the title, defeating South Alabama 27-20 in the final. South Alabama actually won three of the five matches in the final, but Oklahoma State won more games and was named the champions of this year's tournament. It was the first time South Alabama had lost in the WTT Championships.
Brooke Beverly, Lu Oswald and Lindsay Ferrellrepresented the women for the Cougars. Vilms and Lozano played for the men. Women's head coach Craig Manning coached the Cougars at the event.
BYU men's and women's tennis teams will challenge 15 other teams at the World Team Tennis National Collegiate Championships in San Diego this weekend. Women's head coach Craig Manning leads three women and two men to represent the Cougars at the tournament.
Recently married Brooke Beverly, Lu Oswald and Lindsay Ferrell will play for the women and Gert Vilms and Carlos Lozano will play for the men.
"It's our first tournament so I'm not sure what to expect," Manning said. "I'm just looking forward to it."
The tournament features a unique format allowing substitutions in matches and cumulative game scores determining the winner between two teams. Women's doubles, women's singles, men's doubles, men's singles and mixed doubles matches will all be played for each particular match. Tennis legend Billie Jean King devised the concept of team tennis, and she will attend this week's competition.
Vilms and Lozano return this year as the men's best doubles team. While team rankings will not be available until January, Vilms and Lozano have been ranked No. 4 in the preseason doubles poll.
"It's the first tournament of the season," said BYU men's coach Jim Osborne. "If they stay relaxed, they will do well. They're a very solid team."
Mountain West Conference rival San Diego State will co-host the event. Preseason No. 13 Oliver Maiberger leads the Aztecs into the tournament. Steven Capriati, younger brother of Jennifer Capriati, will compete in the tournament for Arizona.
Beverly, Oswald and Ferrell all starred for the Cougars last year. The trio hopes the first tournament will be a good start to the new season.
"It's hard to know what's going to happen," Manning said. "It's going to be a total team effort."