Short-handed Cougars narrowly defeated by Texas Rio Grande Valley
EDINBURG, Texas – BYU men’s tennis fell 4-3 on the road to Texas Rio Grande Valley Friday afternoon. The Cougars (3-5, 1-0 WCC) won the doubles point after wins from Zach Fuchs and Brigham Andrus along with Dominik Jakovljevic and Redd Owen, but only Fuchs and Owen were able to secure results in singles play.
Jack Barnett and Mateo Vereau sat out of the singles lineup due to injury precautions. Vereau missed doubles play as well.
"Between injuries and the conditions it was a challenging day. Tough loss, but we learned some lessons that we hope will help us tomorrow and the rest of the season," said BYU head coach Dave Porter. "We had excellent play from Zach Fuchs and Redd Owen."
- Zach Fuchs/Brigham Andrus (BYU) def. Karlo Krolo/Sam Whitehead (UTRGV) 6-3
- Borna Devald/Emilien Burnel (UTRGV) def. Jack Barnett/Wally Thayne (BYU) 6-2
- Dominik Jakovljevic/Redd Owen (BYU) def. Christopher Lawrance/Te Kani Williams (UTRGV) 7-6 (5)
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3
Fuchs and Andrus remained undefeated at No. 1 doubles, winning their third-straight match together. An early break put the BYU pair up 3-1. Krolo and Whitehead would keep the rest of the match close but Fuchs and Andrus held their serve throughout to hold on for the 6-3 victory.
No. 2 doubles finished shortly after, with the Vaqueros securing their lone doubles victory. The match was tied 2-all before Devald and Burnel won four-straight games to earn a 6-2 result.
Jakovljevic and Owen made their first appearance together for BYU, with the move securing a win at No. 3 doubles. Neither side lost their serve as the match progressed, necessitating a tiebreaker at 6-all.
Five-straight points helped Jakovljevic and Owen erase an early 2-0 deficit in the tiebreaker. While Lawrance and Williams rallied to cut the BYU lead to 6-5, a backcourt winner gave the Cougars a 7-5 win in the tiebreaker to also secure the doubles point.
- Emilien Burnel (UTRGV) def. Wally Thayne (BYU) 7-6 (3), 7-5
- Zach Fuchs (BYU) def. Borna Devald (UTRGV) 6-4, 6-4
- Karlo Krolo (UTRGV) def. Dominik Jakovljevic (BYU) 6-4, 6-1
- Redd Owen (BYU) def. Sam Whitehead (UTRGV) 6-2, 6-1
- Agustin Salazar (UTRGV) def. Brigham Andrus (BYU) 7-5, 6-2
- Christopher Lawrance (UTRGV) def. Brian Chen (BYU) 6-4, 6-2
Order of finish: 4, 3, 5, 2, 1, 6
Owen continued BYU’s positive momentum at No. 4 singles in a comfortable straight-set victory. He scored breaks to open and close set one, which he won 6-2. A 1-1 tie in the second gave way to three more break points by Owen, giving the freshman six-straight games to take the set 6-1. Owen won nine of the match’s final 10 games across the two sets.
UTRGV got on the board at No. 3 singles, which began tied 4-all in set one. A break by Krolo allowed him to gain separation and eventually take the set 6-4, with the momentum continuing to swing his way in the second. Jakovljevic started that set only down 2-1 but Krolo strung together multiple consecutive games to win 6-1.
No. 5 singles gave the Vaqueros their next point. Set one’s 5-all tie was broken after Salazar won a game while receiving before holding his serve to take a 7-5 win. Just like No. 3 singles, UTRGV used the momentum from winning a close first set to open up a larger gap in the second. Andrus would eventually fall 5-7, 2-6.
Fuchs’ win at No. 2 singles put BYU back in the dual match lead. He gained an early advantage when a break put him up 3-2 in set one but was unable to capitalize as Devald scored a break point of his own to force a 3-3 tie. The momentum would later swing back in Fuchs’ favor, with a late break and hold giving him a 6-4 set one win.
The second set was just as close but once again Fuchs took a game as the receiver to go up 5-4. He then capitalized on his chance to secure the match while serving, not giving up a point to win the final game and take set two 6-4.
The closest match of the afternoon came at No. 1 singles. Thayne trailed 6-5 in the first with Burnel serving for the match, but Thayne survived to force a tiebreaker. An early 2-0 lead for Thayne in the tiebreaker ultimately gave way to six-straight points by Burnel, with several close shots near the line not going in Thayne’s favor. Burnel eventually won the tiebreaker 7-3.
Set two once again saw Thayne trailing, this time 4-2. Two break points allowed Thayne to rally for a 5-4 lead but he lost the next game while serving. Burnel would hold his serve before winning the match while receiving, with set two finishing 7-5.
No. 6 singles then became the deciding match, with freshman Brian Chen completing his first career dual match for BYU. Chen rallied from behind in both sets, first coming from down 5-2 in set one to only trail 5-4. Lawrance would survive that effort and take a 6-4 victory. The second set saw UTRGV go up 5-0 before Chen fought with two-straight games. But once again Lawrance would take the set while receiving, winning set two 6-2 to give the Vaqueros the win over the Cougars.
BYU returns to action tomorrow, March 4, with another match in Texas. Saturday’s contest against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi begins at 11:00 a.m. CST.
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