Six ping-pong players from BYU competed in a tournament at the University of Utah on Saturday to determine placing in the regional table tennis tournament early next year. In addition to BYU, three other schools in Utah competed for the seeding. BYU defeated both Westminster College and Utah State University but lost to the University of Utah in a tie-breaking round.
In BYU’s matches against Westminster, the Cougars swept 4–0, with Justin Wong, Liyi Li and John Chan each winning their sets 3–0, and Ryan Gubler winning his set 3-1 for a convincing victory.
The Utah State matches were closer, but the Cougars were still able to defeat the Aggies 3–1. Both Li and Chan swept their opponents 3–0, but Jay Liu was defeated 3–0 by his Aggie opponent. Michael Bunn was able to wrap up the match, defeating his opponent 3–1.
In the first match against the Utes, Gubler handed the Ute across from him a 3–0 defeat, giving the Cougars an early edge. Wong then faced the Utes’ best player, and went on to lose the first two rounds. He regrouped, however, and was able to tie the score at two games apiece, but eventually lost the final set.
Li was also defeated 3–0 by the Utes, which forced Chan to win the fourth set to force a tiebreaker doubles match, which he did, by the score of 3–2.
“We were down 1–2 games, so I had to win my game or else we would lose,” Chan said through an email. “I changed my serves to confuse the opponent and was able to win my game.”
Justin Wong competed in a round against the Utes. In the doubles match that would decide the winner, Chan and Gubler went up against two of the Utes’ best players. They quickly found themselves down 0–2, but were able to come back to tie the game at 2 to force a fifth set, which the Cougars eventually lost.
Even though the Cougars lost, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be ruled out of the regional tournament in California. They will still have the opportunity to play against Utah in February, just before the regional tournament. However, to make it to the regionals, they would need to beat them either 3–0 or 3–1.
“(We) will continue to practice and prepare ourselves against the U of U next year,” Chan said in an email. “We are still very hopeful of our chances and believe we will have a much better performance when we play them again.”