The match started on Friday and ended on Saturday.
The No. 52 BYU men’s tennis team pulled a 5-2 upset over regional rival No. 35 Boise State in front of a packed crowd at the indoor tennis courts as the clock ticked past midnight in a 6 1/2-hour match.
The Cougars started out strong as Georgy Batrakov and Patrick Kawka won their doubles match, 8-4. Boise State answered back defeating Spencer Smith and Francis Sargeant, 8-6. With the doubles point on the line, duo Keaton Cullimore and Michael Eraso battled back from behind to push their match into a tiebreaker. They secured BYU the doubles point with a 9-8 win over Andrew Bettles and Fillipp Pogostkin.
In singles, BYU earned two more points from Smith and Cullimore after Boise State pushed both matches into third sets. The Broncos made a run for a comeback after James Meredith defeated Batrakov 7-6, 7-5 and Damian Humes put away Kawka 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.
With the match in reach for BYU, Eraso and Garrett Patton battled back and forth as midnight approached. Eraso won the first set 6-4 and had the match at his fingertips in the second set up 6-5. However, Patton was up 40-love in the game it looked like he would tie it quickly. Eraso went on a four-point run to gain the advantage. Patton and Eraso traded advantages back and forth 17 times before Patton finally won to push the set into another game. Eraso buckled down and secured BYU the match win in the second set, topping Patton 7-6 (7-2).
Sargeant put up another Cougar win, finishing his match after midnight in a 6-4, 6-7, 10-5 decision.
“I’m really proud of all of the guys, it was a team win,” Eraso said. “I felt everybody was fighting out there like this was our last match of the season and it’s just exciting for us to get this win under our belts. It’s going to give us a lot of momentum.”
The Cougars started the year out slow and after losing four straight matches earlier in the season have reached an 8-5 record on the year, with five straight wins.
“It’s a tribute to a lot of hard work we’ve been putting in,” Eraso said. “We had a rough start and now we’ve beaten a really good team; we had an awesome crowd and I think it’s really good for our program.”
BYU men’s tennis coach Brad Pearce said he couldn’t be more proud of each of his players after their “incredible” performance.
“This was an incredible college tennis match,” Pearce said. “We know Boise State is going to fight to the last man, to the last point. Our guys are going to do exactly the same.”
This was a big win for BYU’s tennis program and its first win over a top ranked team.
“[Boise State] continued fighting so our guys had to elevate their game and go out and take it,” Pearce said.
The Cougars hope to bring this momentum with them into their weekend matches against the University of the Pacific and New Mexico on Friday and Saturday.
The women’s tennis team faced challenges in Texas, but ended the weekend on a high note.
Thursday, No. 23 Texas A&M swept the Cougars, 7-0. With three top ranked players in No. 4 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, No. 86 Wen Sun and No. 114 Nazari Urbina, the Aggies secured the doubles point and moved into singles, beating the Cougars in straight sets on every court, except court four. Meghan Sheehan-Dizon almost up-ended the Aggies sweep, pushing her match to the third set, but Lauren Santacroce pulled the 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 win.
The Cougars fell again on Friday, to No. 45 Rice University. Rice secured the doubles point, winning on every court. In singles play No. 59 Natalie Beazant was first off the court defeating BYU’s Desiree Tran in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0. Her fellow Owls followed suit winning out in straight sets against the Cougars to a 7-0 sweep.
The Cougars rebounded Saturday and broke a five-match losing streak by beating No. 75 Southern Methodist University 4-3.
“I think we ended the trip really well,” BYU women’s tennis coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said. “We had a few tough matches but we turned it around today. The girls had a good attitude and we stayed positive and trusted our game. SMU is a good team and it’s a great win for us.”
The Cougars earned the doubles point winning on courts one and two. In singles the Mustangs tied the match on court one as No. 60 Edyta Cieplucha defeated Tran 6-1, 6-1. Junior Aubrey Paul put the Cougars back up in a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Perri Anderson. The Mustangs tied the match again as Kris Roberts defeated Lisa Waldron 6-3, 6-1.
Sheehan-Dizon gave the Cougars the lead for good in a 6-1, 6-3 win and Morgan Anderson sealed BYU’s victory in a 6-3, 6-3 win. Heather Steinbauer put up the last point of the day on court two for SMU in a close 7-5, 6-4 match over Megan Price.
On the third leg of their away stretch the Cougars will converge in Boise, Idaho, with the University of Texas Arlington and Boise State for the teams to play each other this weekend.