Former coaches and old foes at men’s tennis match

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Coming off its win over rival Utah, the No. 52 BYU men’s tennis team returned home and swept the Nevada Wolf Pack, 7-0, on Friday.

BYU coach Brad Pearce was pleased with his team’s victories and resilience physically, emotionally and mentally and described what they accomplished this week as “incredible.” These two wins improve their record to 5-5 before they hit the road for their next two matches.

“I’m extremely proud of our guys,” Pearce said. “Preparation for a big rivalry match is physically exhausting and emotionally exhausting. To do what they did Wednesday night and come back and do it again Friday was a great effort on their part.”

The Cougars started the night off strong in doubles play. Georgy Batrakov and Patrick Kawka allowed Nevada to win only one game, and in the last game Kawka ended the game with an ace serve, finishing that match 8-1.

Keaton Cullimore and Michael Eraso clinched the doubles point for BYU on court three. Nevada tied the match at 5-5, but the Cougar duo won three games in a row to win out the match.

On court two, Spencer Smith and Francis Sargeant finished off the doubles sweep by defeating Nevada’s Victor Ouvrard and Quentin Meqe, 8-4.

The Cougars dominated in singles, winning every singles set. Smith started off the singles victories with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Moez Echarqui. Keaton won the first set 6-0, then battled back and forth in games in the second set, finally winning 6-4.

On the No. 1 court, Batrakov played an impressive and fierce match against No. 80 Wessim Derbel. Batrakov and Derbel had met before when Derbel got the better of Batrakov. Batrakov came out on top this time in a 6-4, 6-3 victory.

“It was really big for me. I was a little bit nervous to play him because he’s a really good player,” Batrakov said. “I played solid, and it was good enough for me to beat him.”

Former BYU coach Jim Pearce, Brad Pearce’s father, was impressed with Batrakov’s play.

“He needed to elevate his game and he did,” Jim Pearce said. “[Batrakov]¬†played one of the better matches I’ve seen in college. I loved that match.”

The team travels to Colorado this week to play the United States Air Force Academy and the University of Denver.

The BYU women’s tennis team suffered a tough loss at the hands of the No. 70 Wisconsin Badgers (6-1) on Saturday, losing 4-3.

Despite the results, BYU coach Lauren Jones-Spencer was proud of the way her team fought and takes the loss as a learning experience.

“When we lose I want to make sure the girls learn from the match so we can move on and know what to do next time,” Jones-Spencer said.

The Badgers quickly took the doubles point on courts two and three, defeating both sets of Cougar partners, 8-2 and 8-1, respectively. On court one, senior Megan Price and freshman Meghan Sheehan-Dizon put up a win against Hannah Berner and Alaina Trgovich with a back and forth 8-6 victory.

Hard-hitting freshman Morgan Anderson was first off the court in singles play for the second match in a row, making quick work of Trgovich in 6-3, 6-3 win, bringing the match to a 1-1 tie. Price pushed BYU ahead after battling back being down a set to defeat Berner on the singles court 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. Wisconsin tied the match again after Nicky Stracar took the number one position over Desiree Tran, 7-5, 3-6.

Sheehan-Dizon in traditional fashion fought in a match just shy of lasting three hours. Sheehan-Dizon took the first set 6-3, then lost the second in a tie-breaker 7-5. Down 5-3 in the third set, Sheehan-Dizon won two games in a row and aced a game winning serve to tie Sarah Loebel 5-5. The back and forth advantages and sets finally ended as Sheehan-Dizon took the final set 7-6 (7-4). This is Sheehan-Dizon’s fourth straight singles win.

Wisconsin tied the match again in the number six position as Aleksandra Markovic defeated Lisa Waldron 6-2, 6-0.

With the match on the line on the final court BYU’s Aubrey Paul and Wiscon’s Nova Patel battled it out. Paul took the first set, 7-6 but lost the second 6-3. In the third set Patel took an early 2-0 lead, but Paul came back and tied the match. Patel then won three games in a row. But Paul fought back and brought the set within reach at 4-5, but Patel took the final game to win the set 6-4, and the overall match for Wisconsin.

After the match Jones-Spencer talked to the team about how hard they played and the pressure that comes with close matches.

“She said she was really proud of us and that we fought hard,” Sheehan-Dizon said. “She said we need to keep playing our game and even under pressure to trust ourselves and don’t succumb to the pressure.”

The Cougars hit the road for the next month with matches next weekend in Pullman, Wash., to take on the Washington State Cougars and the Idaho Vandals.

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