Mike Miller | Posted: 18 May 2023 | Updated: 28 Jul 2023

BYU Men’s Tennis 2022-23 Season Review

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Coach Porter in a team huddle
Coach Porter in a team huddle Jack Barnett with the team in a huddle Team photo Brigham Andrus (center) celebrating with the team Wally Thayne (left) and Redd Owen (right) celebrating Wally Thayne celebrating Jack Barnett celebrating Zach Fuchs celebrating Team huddle

PROVO, Utah – BYU men’s tennis concluded the team’s final season in the West Coast Conference with a return to the WCC tournament, with several players celebrating individual accomplishments throughout the season.

The Cougars finished with a 6-16 record, which included a 4-5 mark in WCC matches. Their conference record was enough to qualify for the 2023 WCC Men’s Tennis Tournament, which featured the top six teams in the conference. BYU was fifth in the standings after winning a tiebreaker with Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga, returning to the field after missing out in 2022.

Jack Barnett and Wally Thayne both ended the season with All-Conference honors in singles and doubles, resulting in 34 All-Conference awards for BYU in 11 WCC seasons. They are also two of the seven Cougars to combine for five weekly honors from the WCC. Thayne’s win over the No. 5 singles player in the country in March made history as the team’s highest-ever ranked win and was part of a wide variety of individual achievements in 2022-23.

As a team BYU played a challenging schedule, which included an eight-match, six-week road trip from February 25-March 25. The stretch was the team’s longest away from home since 2006. Nine opponents finished the regular season in the ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings. The Cougars also played seven NCAA Tournament teams, four Power 5 schools and a non-conference schedule that included opponents from seven different conferences.

Injuries also impacted the season, which saw the team finish with only seven healthy players. Player absences and other coaching decisions resulted in BYU playing seven different singles lineups and 10 different doubles lineups in the dual match season. Despite the challenges, the team finished with a 6-4 home record to have a winning record in Provo for every season since at least 2000.

At the conclusion of the season, head coach Dave Porter praised the team’s effort despite some unfortunate results. “We finished strong, we finished hard,” he said. “We played fair, we represented the university well and I'm proud of my team.”

Fast Facts

  • Overall Record: 6-16
  • WCC: 4-5
  • Home: 6-4
  • Away: 0-10
  • Neutral: 0-2
  • WCC Finish: 5th, eliminated in opening round of conference tournament

WCC Results

The Indoor Tennis Courts became a fortress for the Cougars in conference play, where they were 4-0. The team’s lone home conference loss came when the weather surprisingly warmed up enough to play outside, but not quickly enough for outdoor practice leading up to the match.

BYU’s marquee win came over No. 27 San Diego on April 1. Doubles were not played that day, with the Cougars victorious 4-2 after wins at No. 1, 2, 3 and 6 singles. The result snapped San Diego’s 16-match WCC win streak and was also ultimately the difference in qualifying BYU for the WCC tournament. After being tied with Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga in conference records and the head-to-head tiebreaker, BYU earned the No. 5 seed due to performance against USD, the top team in the WCC standings. USD’s lone loss in WCC play was to the Cougars.

BYU also defeated Saint Mary’s, San Francisco and Pacific in conference matches. The trip to the WCC tournament was the team’s fifth since the conference adopted the current format six tournaments ago.

Nonconference Battles

As part of the program’s historic road trip the team visited Texas for the first time since 2013. A fall visit to the Rice Fall Challenge preceded dual matches with Texas Rio Grande Valley and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in March.

BYU’s two non-conference wins came at home over Idaho State and Weber State. The two schools are also a part of the ITA Mountain Region, with the Cougars going 2-4 against regional opponents this season.

Fall Season

The Cougars started the season with five tournaments in the fall, where various players competed individually. Barnett and Thayne earned spots at the invite-only ITA All-American Championships, falling in their opening singles and doubles matches. All three matches saw various sets go to tiebreakers.

The ITA Mountain Regional Championship was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in October, with Thayne and Redd Owen both going a combined 3-1 at the tournament. Thayne upset the tournament’s No. 9 seed in Utah’s Berk Bugarikj to punctuate a run of five wins in six consecutive singles matches going back to the UCSB Classic.

Zach Fuchs also had a good fall. He went undefeated on day one of the UCSB Classic before going 2-1 in singles at the Rice Fall Challenge.

Individual Successes

WCC Weekly Honors

  • Zach Fuchs and Wally Thayne - Doubles Team of the Week (February 7)
  • Dominik Jakovljevic - Singles Player of the Week (February 21)
  • Jack Barnett and Mateo Vereau - Doubles Team of the Week (February 21)
  • Brigham Andrus and Redd Owen - Doubles Team of the Week (March 21)
  • Wally Thayne - Singles Player of the Week (April 4)

Brigham Andrus

  • Appeared in all 22 dual matches after three knee surgeries in 2022 to repair injuries in both knees
  • Team-high nine doubles wins
  • Earned the match-clinching point over No. 27 San Diego with a 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-1 win at No. 6 singles
  • WCC All-Academic Honorable Mention

Jack Barnett

  • Returned to the lineup after missing most of last season with an injury
  • All-WCC Honorable Mention Singles
  • All-WCC Second Team Doubles
  • At-large nomination to the ITA All-American Championships, collegiate tennis' fall national championship

Brian Chen

  • Appeared in 12 matches as a freshman, going 3-6 in singles and 5-4 in doubles
  • Earned first career dual match win with a 6-2 victory at No. 3 doubles with Thayne on April 21 versus Pacific

Zach Fuchs

  • Team-high singles winning percentage in 2022-23
  • Defeated junior Wimbledon champion No. 59 Samir Banerjee 7-5, 6-3 in a match with No. 20 Stanford on March 30
  • College Sports Communicators Academic All-District
  • WCC All-Academic First Team

Dominik Jakovljevic

  • Career-high 10 singles and six doubles wins
  • Played as high as No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles

Redd Owen

  • Appeared in 33 matches as a freshman, registering eight singles and nine doubles wins
  • Mainly played No. 5 singles and No. 3 doubles, but also spent time at No. 4 and 6 singles along with No. 2 doubles

Wally Thayne

  • All-WCC Honorable Mention Singles
  • All-WCC Second Team Doubles
  • National ranking of No. 123 in singles the week of April 4 to become just the third Cougar to be ranked in the last 10 years
  • Highest ranked win in team history on March 30 in a match versus No. 20 Stanford (Defeated No. 5 Nishesh Basavareddy 7-5, 6-3)
  • Also defeated No. 69 Iiro Vasa (7-5, 7-5) to help BYU defeat No. 27 San Diego
  • His 13 singles victories were the highest on the team in 2022-23
  • At-large nomination to the 2022 ITA All-American Championships, collegiate tennis' fall national championship

The Future is Bright

Five-star recruits Jakovljevic and Redd Owen will be joined in future seasons by five-star commits Caden Hasler and Hardy Owen. Redd Owen played in all 22 of the team’s dual matches as a freshman this past season, while Jakovljevic concluded his third season by also appearing in every spring contest.

Hasler finished 2022 as the No. 1 junior doubles player in the nation, becoming the first player from the state of Utah to ever top a national junior rankings list. Both Hasler and Hardy Owen will serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before enrolling at BYU, with Hasler expected to join the team in 2025 after Hardy Owen starts in 2024.

The upcoming 2023-24 season will be BYU’s first in the Big 12. The Cougars got a preview of their future conference with a match versus No. 40 Texas Tech in Eugene, Oregon, this season. The Red Raiders were victorious 4-1, with BYU winning the doubles point. All seven other teams that will be in the Big 12 next season were ranked at the end of this year.

The eight Cougars from this year’s roster will all be back next season. They will be joined by Kai-I Wang, Taiwan’s top youth player, and Abhinmanyu Vannemreddy, a transfer from UNC Charlotte who played No. 1 singles for a 49ers team that was nationally ranked at times in 2022 and 2023.

BYU will officially join the Big 12 on July 1. Other men’s tennis programs in the conference are Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and UCF.

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