By STEVE SHAW
The BYU men’s tennis team opened its home season in dual-match play Saturday night with a 5-2 win over the Montana State Bobcats.
The Cougars opened the match by winning two out of the three doubles pro- sets to get the first team point.
The No. 1 doubles team of Manuel Calvo and Damien Ward had trouble breaking the serve of Montana State. With the game tied 4-4, Calvo and Ward finally broke serve and carried that momentum to an 8-4 win.
The No. 3 doubles team of Benji Rideout and Nick Losee dominated its doubles match from the beginning and won 8-3.
“It was good for us to win doubles,” BYU coach Jim Osborne said. “We’ve worked really hard on our doubles this past year. The WAC is going to be so close this year, matches will probably come down to doubles points,” Osborne said.
In the singles matches, BYU’s No. 1 and No. 2 players had a hard time getting their games going as Calvo lost 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, and Ward lost in a closely contested match 7-6, 6-7, 7-6.
BYU’s No. 3-6 singles players, however, played exceptionally well and swept the next four singles matches to give the Cougars the win.
Winners were Losee, 6-4, 7-6, freshman Stuart Beauchamp, 6-3, 6-2, freshman Jeff Harbaugh, 6-2, 7-6, and Rideout, 6-2, 7-6.
BYU came into this match knowing it wouldn’t be at full strength with seniors Jason Hardin and Brad McIntosh playing injured. And with their top players not performing well, the Cougars weren’t sure they could pull out a win. Osborne feels this win will give the Cougars a boost going into their next dual matches.
“We’re happy to come through with a win, especially with Jason (Hardin) and Brad (McIntosh) being injured,” Osborne said. “Also, knowing we can win without Manuel (Calvo) and Damien (Ward) shows we have good depth.”
Montana State came into the match fresh off a loss at Utah, but Osborne felt the Bobcats played twice as well as they did against Utah.
“It’s really a good thing that our freshman came through,” Osborne said. “(Montana State) played us very well.”
McIntosh re-injured his back in a loss at No. 2 doubles and is doubtful for the Cougars next meet against Weber State on Friday. But Hardin is recovering from neck problems and should be at full strength for Friday.
The Weber State meet will be held at the indoor courts just south of the Smith Fieldhouse Friday at 5 p.m.