The extra practice time the men’s tennis team had this week seems to have paid off as it won both matches on Friday, sweeping Idaho State 7-0 and putting away Montana State 6-1.
“It feels great to get back,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “We had a hard week of practice, early mornings and afternoon practices and it’s really great from a coach’s prespective to see our guys actually improve during the course of the week. I think the extra balls that we hit, the extra time that was put in really paid off today.”
The Cougars said they are pleased with the wins, which have helped increase their confidence and built momentum for the rest of the season.
Sophomore Patrick Kawka, who won both of his doubles matches and his singles match, said the team realized they weren’t playing well enough and winning both these matches was big for the team.
“We took a few losses the past couple weeks and it struck our confidence pretty hard,” Kawka said. “Getting some solid wins under our belts is definitely going to help us imporove for the rest of the season.”
BYU swept the doubles matches against Idaho State and put away the singles matches quickly. Senior Georgy Batrakov flew through his match winning 6-0, 6-0. Spencer Smith, Keaton Cullimore, Francis Sargeant and Dean Ormsby quickly followed suit, each winning in the first two sets and never losing more than four games in either set.
Freshman David Doehring sealed the Cougars sweep of the Bengals defeating Dakota Pate in the last match, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.
“We’re playing good and and we’re actually getting wins,” Batrakov said. “It’s really good for us before the Stanford match to feel that we’re improving and we’re winning and we’re good enough to play these teams.”
Less than two hours after defeating the Bengals, the Cougars took to the court again against Montana State.
BYU won the doubles match early with Batrakov and Kawka defeating Niklas Brandes and Markus Schleuter, 8-2. Smith and Francis Sargeant beat Diego Campos and Alberto Fuentos also 8-2. Cullimore and Ormsby finished the doubles sweep in a back-and-forth 8-6 match.
In singles play, the Cougars won quickly and decisively. Of the six singles matches BYU won, no one lost more than three games in a set. Montana State’s only win of the day came in as Lander Jewett defeated Ormsby 6-4, 4-6, (10-7).
Pearce said the team will continue its extra practices to keep improving faster and stay competitive.
“There’s nothing better than winning to build confidence,” Pearce said.
The women’s tennis team, however, suffered the same misfortune in California the men had experienced the last two weeks.
Its first loss came Friday to No. 38 Long Beach State, 6-1.
Megan Price had the Cougars’ only win, defeating No. 117 Laura Bernard. Price won, coming back after the first lost set and ending in a tie-breaker to seal the win, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Morgan Anderson and Desiree Tran lost a long, hard fought doubles match to Sarah Cantlay and Julie Luzar 9-8.
Saturday, the Cougars had a close and tough loss to No. 56 UC Irvine.
Lisa Waldron and Aubrey Paul won their doubles match 8-6 and UC Irvine sealed a 9-7 victory on court 2, bringing the doubles point down to the final match. Courtney Byron and Hannah Holladay narrowly defeated BYU’s Megan Price and freshman Meghan Sheehan-Dizon to seal the doubles point for UC Irvine.
In singles play, the Cougars fought hard, bringing several matches down to the third set. The Cougars lone point on Saturday came from Sheehan-Dizon, who defeated Marivick Mamiit 6-4, 6-4.
Despite the losses, BYU coach Lauren Spener-Jones said her team is on the right track and getting better every match.
“We try to learn from the ones we don’t win, so we’ll learn from this weekend,” Spencer-Jones said. “We’re just going to work hard in practice this week and work on a few things we had a hard time with this weekend and take one match at a time and focus on Denver.”
She said the team is excited to come home and play this weekend.
The men’s team heads to Stanford on Friday to compete while the women have their home opener against Denver and play again Saturday at home against Nevada.