BYU tennis teams look for success

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The men’s tennis team is off to California again this week in hopes the third time’s the charm, while the women’s tennis team plays in its home opener.

The men will take on a top-ranked Stanford team on Friday. The previous road trips this season resulted in losses, and the team is looking for a win on the road.

“Stanford is ranked sixth, is a 17 time NCAA champion … and is obviously a storied tennis program,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “I think we can compete against them and I know everybody’s excited to go down there and be ready and compete. [pullquote]The goal every match we play is to win, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, but that’s what we’re always striving to do.”[/pullquote]”The goal every match we play is to win, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, but that’s what we’re always striving to do.”

The team has been relentless in its preparation. Junior Spencer Smith said the additional practices have been successful and will help them against Stanford.

“Since our last California trip we’ve put in a lot of extra work, coming out in the mornings and practicing extra and this last weekend it showed in our matches,” Smith said. “We took care of business pretty well.”

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Pearce said the extra time on the court is helping the freshmen be more comfortable, and is also building team spirit and camaraderie.

“The system we’ve established now of early morning practices and more match play in the afternoons is a good process,” Pearce said. “I think it helped us in our matches this weekend and I think we’re going to keep on this routine the rest of the season.”

The Cougars and Cardinals face off Friday at 1:30 p.m. PST.

The women’s tennis team returns from two tough road losses for their home opener weekend in front of their fans in back-to-back matches. The players are anticipating the home court advantage and playing where they are used to the altitude.

“The girls are all looking forward to playing in front of our home crowd and playing on our own court. We’re all really excited,” Jones-Spencer said.

Junior Aubrey Paul said the team is excited to be back at home this week.

“Coming home and playing is just special, it’s always fun,” Paul said. “The first match coming home is always the best because you just want to show people that you have a good team and the talent we have.”

Paul said she’s happy to be playing Denver again and despite the team’s youth they’re confident and ready to compete.

“It’s comforting knowing you’ve beat them before. It’s been done so you can do it again,” Paul said. “Our freshmen are really good this year though too, so we have confidence in them. Last year was really close against Denver, it was 4-3 . That was really tight and close, but I think we have the edge this year. It will be fun to have them down here in our territory.”

Jones-Spencer said the team has talked about what the team did well last weekend and what they need to improve on during practices this week.

“We’re focusing on moving forward and strengthening up a few things we had a hard time with,” Jones Spencer said. “I think the biggest thing is just match play, getting match tough. I think we’ll get better as we go along.”

The women take on Denver Friday at noon and continue their home opener Saturday at noon against Nevada on the indoor tennis courts. Admission is free and there will be free pizza for those coming out to support the Cougars.

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