By Dallas Oler
The BYU men”s and women”s tennis teams saw their seasons come to an end as they lost their first-round regional matches.
Hosting one of 16 four-team regionals, the men”s team (14-10) dropped its match against the No. 14 ranked Golden Bears of Cal Berkeley (15-8) on Friday, May 11.
The Cougars began the match at the BYU Outdoor Tennis Courts by winning the doubles point in exciting fashion. Gert Vilms and Carlos Lozano, BYU”s No. 32 ranked doubles team, defeated Cal”s No. 36 ranked doubles team Adrian Barnes and Scott Kintz, 8-4.
With Cal”s No. 3 doubles team Ben Miles and Balazs Veress defeating the Cougars No. 3 doubles team Eric Nyman and Matt Stohl, the point came down to the No. 2 spot.
BYU”s Jeff Olsen and Jeff Harbach went into a tiebreaker with Cal”s John Paul Fruttero and Robert Kowalczyk. Both teams had several chances to win before the Cougars finally prevailed 9-7.
Cal then went on to take the match by winning the next four singles. The match was actually much closer than the score would make it appear. In the last three single matches, with Cal leading 3-1, the Cougars were up at the No. 2 match (Carlos Lozano vs. Adrian Barnes) and the No. 5 match (Jeff Harbach vs. Scott Kintz). BYU”s Anton Rudjuk lost at the number four spot in a tiebreaker in the third set to Cal”s Robert Kowalczyk, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3).
“This was really only a few points away from being much different,” said BYU head coach Jim Osborne. “(Lozano) was serving for the match, and if the tiebreak goes the other way, we have our team captain (Harbach) playing in the last match. I would have loved that.”
“We gave it our all and we just didn”t quite get it done,” Osborne said. “Cal is solid all the way down the line. We knew coming in that we would have to play great tennis to beat them and we almost did. We played well, but we needed to play great and they just played better.”
The loss ended what turned out to be a great season after BYU surprised the Mountain West Conference by winning the MWC Tournament as a No. 4 seed.
The Cougars said they are optimistic to build off this season”s success as they will return their entire team next year. “Everyone”s back and we have some good recruits coming in,” Osborne said. “Hopefully, we can break into the Top 25.”
In the final match on Saturday, May 12, No. 1 seeded Cal went on to defeat the No. 2 seed Fresno State, 4-2. Fresno St. made it to the final match by squeaking by the No. 3 seed Wake Forest on Friday, May 11, 4-3. With the win, Cal advances to the final round of 16 in Athens, Georgia, May 19-22.
The No. 29 ranked BYU women”s tennis team (15-9) also began their regional match by winning the doubles point before losing its match to No. 28 ranked Alabama (16-9), 4-2, at Duke Tennis Stadium on Friday morning.
BYU”s Jodi Richardson and Brooke Ferney, ranked No. 25 in the country, defeated No. 44 ranked Emma Berard and Dominique Glinzler, at the top spot in doubles, 8-4. At the doubles No. 2 spot, the Cougars” Dominique Reynolds and Liza Khoudoiarova beat Becca Baum and Jenny Ketchum, 8-4.
The Crimson Tide then went on to win four of the next five single matches to end the Cougars” season – a very successful season that saw them go undefeated in the MWC and win the MWC Tournament.
In the final match on Saturday, May 12, the Crimson Tide lost to the No. 2 ranked Duke Blue Devils, 4-0. Duke moves on to Stone Mountain, Georgia to the round of 16, May 17-20.