By Scott Armstrong
The No. 68 BYU men”s tennis team got its first conference win of the season against Air Force on Friday, but it fell just short of an upset in a 4-3 loss to Mountain West Conference-leading No. 46 San Diego State on Saturday.
Against the Falcons, the Cougars did not waste any time on their way to a 7-0 win, their fifth sweep of the season.
BYU took an early 1-0 lead with wins in three doubles matches to begin play.
In singles, senior Chip Hand played his first match of the season at the No. 1 spot. After earning the top spot with nine straight wins, Hand extended his streak to ten with a 6-2, 6-0, victory over Robby Alexander.
The rest of the lineup followed suit. James Ludlow, Dominik Kaufhold, Cassidy Mears, Jonathan Sanchez and Cale Planck all posted wins to complete the sweep for BYU.
The Cougars got off to another great start Saturday, as they won all three doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead. Among the winners for BYU were seniors Ludlow and Kaufhold over the No. 14 doubles duo in the nation on court one.
BYU kept it rolling in singles as well. Ludlow followed up his doubles performance with a win on court two when his opponent withdrew after losing the first set.
Jonathan Sanchez posted another point for the Cougars with a quick 6-2, 6-2 win on court five.
With three total points, just one short of the overall victory, BYU needed one win in the remaining four singles matches to clinch the match and improve to 2-3 in conference play.
But the Aztecs fought back with three points of their own, winning singles matches on courts one, three and four, which left the outcome of the match dependent on court six.
After losing the first set, 6-3, BYU”s Cale Planck evened the match, winning the second set 6-1. But San Diego State”s Robert Sabo won the third set 6-4 to clinch the match for the Aztecs and end the upset hopes for BYU.
“We had our opportunities,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “We were in a position to run the table against one of the top teams in the conference and the No. 46 team in the nation, and hopefully we”ll close the deal next time.”