The BYU women’s tennis team ended its first tournament of the season on a positive note with four Cougars making the finals in their brackets at the BYU Invitational.
“I’m pretty happy with where we are right now,” coach Craig Manning said. “It’s early in the season and there’s a few things we need to work on. When we get all the parts together, we’re going to be tough.”
Freshman Dolly Chang, originally from Taiwan, won her bracket outright. Three others – Olga Boulytcheva, Hadley Macfarlane, and Rebecca Pike – won their first two matches and made it to a final.
“Everybody’s playing really well,” Hadley said afterwards. “As a team, we have some things we need to work on, but they’re little things. It was a lot of fun.”
Lauren Jones, playing as the top seed for BYU, had an impressive win in her first match and outlasted her opponent in her third.
“I made it harder than I needed to; I played up and down,” she said after her first match against Utah’s Elizabeth Ferris. “It was a tough match – we played each other growing up in southern California.”
Jones went on to win two of three matches overall.
The women’s soccer team lost 2-1 against a tough Washington State team that was closer than the one-goal differential would indicate. This followed a 1-0 Cougar loss to Arizona on Thursday.
After a BYU player was called for tripping deep in her own territory after trying to slide tackle with about 15 minutes to go, Washington State’s Cailan McCutchan took the pass and scored, giving Washington State the deciding goal.
With 27 minutes remaining, BYU got a penalty kick on Washington State’s side of the field. Midfielder Jenavieve Phillips passed the ball to Swenson, who dribbled down the middle through several Washington State defenders to knock the ball in and tie the game.
“They’re really fast defenders, so to get a touch like that was just such an opportunity,” Swenson said. “That’s why I was so excited. I thought the last 45 minutes that we played — I don’t think I’ve ever seen this team play so well. We played possession, and it was really fun.”
Despite the loss, Rockwood was pleased with BYU’s second-half effort.
“Losing is never fun, and we certainly haven’t found ourselves as a program in this situation yet,” said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood. “But I’m very optimistic after watching the last 45 minutes; I think it was the best we’ve played all year.”
On Thursday, the Wildcats’ lone goal came in the 71st minute as Amanda Urtuzuastegui fought her way to the middle of the box and sent a header through the congestion into the back of the net.
Rockwood said one key factor in the game was corner kicks. Arizona had nine; BYU had two.
BYU will look to rebound from the losses when they host Hawaii at 5 p.m. Monday at the South Stadium.
The BYU rugby team continues its race to the top, leaving the University of Utah team bruised and beaten on the way.
The Cougars defeated the Utes 43-17 Saturday afternoon in the battle of two top 10 teams.
“We’ll take 43 to 17 against Utah any day,” Jackson Tukuafu said. “We haven’t beaten Utah by such a large margin in a while. It really showed our character as a team.”
BYU held the Utes to 12 points in the first half and only allowed one try in the second. The defense has been an issue of concern for the Cougars in preparation for the new season, but was in fine form in Saturday’s game.
“The defense [was] pretty good all game, but they gave up a couple weak tries in the first half,” former BYU player Andy Ashby said.
At one point in the second half, senior Mike Poelman ran the ball nearly half the distance of the field to bring the score up another five points.
“I think they were getting tired,” Poelman said. “When I picked up the ball out of the scrum I just saw a big opening. It’s always a good feeling to see open field; it gave me an adrenaline burst that helped me run a little faster.”
The men’s golf team will begin its season Monday at the Opus NW Husky Invitational in Seattle. The tournament, which will be hosted by the University of Washington, includes 10 teams and runs through Tuesday.
Oscar Alvarez, Todd Miller, Craig Machtaler, Jake Ellison, Clay Ogden and Ron Harvey will make the trip to Seattle to compete for the Cougars. The tournament will feature 54 holes, and the top five players’ scores from each team will be counted.
Golf Week’s preseason poll has the Cougars at No. 15, the highest ranked team in the tournament. Other ranked teams that will compete include No. 16 Southern California and No. 20 Washington.
“We’re excited to get the year started,” BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. “This team seems to find a way to rise to the occasion.”