Losses in California continue for men’s tennis

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The men’s tennis team returned to California over the weekend for the ITA Kick-Off tournament with high hopes but fell to No. 36 Vanderbilt and No. 52 Cal Poly.

BYU lost to Vanderbilt, 4-3, on Friday in Malibu, Calif. The Cougars won the first doubles match with senior Georgy Batrakov and sophomore Patrick Kawka defeating Charlie Jones and Jeff Offerdahl 8-6. Freshmen Keaton Cullimore and Dean Ormsby, playing their first match as partners, sealed the doubles point for the Cougars, defeating Gonzales Austin and Anton Kovrigin 8-5.

“We started out by leading the doubles point which was a real positive,” BYU head coach Brad Pearce said. “We got a win at the No. 4 [position] with Cullimore. He did a nice job.”

The singles matches led to long, close sets. No. 67 Cullimore pulled out a Cougar win defeating Anton Kovrigin 6-0, 7-5.

“We were in battles at [positions] one, two and three,” Pearce said. “Unfortunately, all the matches we had really good leads in got away from us and they went to Vanderbilt.”

Saturday, BYU played in the consolation match against Cal Poly, losing 4-2.

“Sometimes it helps your rankings when you start out playing good, solid ranked teams,” Pearce  said. “But it can also work against you if you don’t have the sharpness or the experience you need at the beginning of the season and a couple close matches don’t go your way.”

Pearce said the team is capable of winning these matches against top ranked teams, but the young BYU team is lacking experience. Nearly half the the men’s tennis team is made up of freshmen this year.

Cal Poly won the doubles point by winning two of the three matches.

The Mustangs’ Jordan Bridge and Brian McPhee beat Batrakov and Kawka 8-4, and Andre Dome and Marco Camuzzo pulled of an 8-5 win against Spencer Smith and Francis Sargeant. Cullimore and David Doehring gave the Cougars their only double win, defeating Jurgen De Jager and Jordan Kepler 8-4.

Kawka and Smith gave the Cougars their only single wins, defeating McPhee 6-1, 6-2, and Camuzzo 6-3, 6-3, respectively.

Pearce hopes the return to Utah this week will result in wins for his team.

“We got to get some wins under our belts and get our confidence back,” Pearce said. “We hope to do that this weekend.”

He said is team is just looking to move forward in the season and focus on gaining confidence and putting wins up on the board.

The Cougars take on Idaho State and Montana State in doubleheader matches on Friday at the indoor tennis matches at noon and 5:30 p.m.

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