Playing in front of its home crowd and outside for the first time in Provo, the BYU women’s tennis team thwarted its first conference opponent.
BYU defeated the University of San Francisco 4-3 Saturday on the outdoor tennis courts. Without the Cougars’ senior captain Megan Price, who was taking the MCAT, the Cougars had to adjust their doubles teams and position line-up.
New duo Desiree Tran and Meghan Sheehan-Dizon took their match on court one, 8-3. Aubrey Paul and Andie Young dropped their match 8-5. With freshman duo Morgan Anderson and Lisa Waldron being up 7-4 on court two it looked like the Cougars would earn the doubles point, but the Dons battled back winning 3 straight and forcing the match into a tiebreaker. Milica Hadzi Tanovic and Yurie Hashiguchi took the tiebreaker and secured the Dons the doubles point.
BYU coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said doubles didn’t go well, and it was hard playing without Price and her leadership.
“We had opportunities where we were up, but we stopped playing our game and waited.” Jones-Spencer said. “We wanted them to give [the match] to us, but no team is going to do that. We’re going to have to take it from them.”
The Cougars came out fired up for singles and ready to take the match.
Paul was first off the court, quickly putting the Cougars up on the scoreboard. Allowing her opponent to only win the first game in the second set, Paul took her match winning in straight sets 6-0, 6-1.
“It’s fun to get your team going and get a point for your team,” Paul said. “It boosts their confidence up, and you’re just there cheering for them. I do my best when I’m cheering for others, and it’s nice having someone cheer on the side for me.”
Sheehan-Dizon took her match in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2. Tran also took her match in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 to put the Cougars up 3-1.
The Dons, not to be outdone, posted a win over Waldron on court five. Alana McMahon took the match 6-3, 6-4.
With winning the match in reach for BYU, Anderson came back after dropping the first set and battled through three sets with Melinda Akerbrant to take the match and seal BYU’s win in a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 decision.
Anderson said she struggled in the first set because of the pressure from not pulling out her doubles match earlier in the day but came back mentally for the second set.
“I just turned it around, a complete 180,” Anderson said. “I knew [the win] was coming down to one more match, and I was still out there, but it made me play better. I wanted to win for the team and for myself, but I really wanted to solidify the win since I didn’t capitalize in doubles.”
The last match went to the Dons as Young fell to Blair Reed 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
“I told them to play their game and come out strong and they did that,” Jones-Spencer said. “They played tough and didn’t give up.”
The Cougars continue their home matches Tuesday at 11 a.m. against Santa Clara.
In its conference opener the BYU men’s tennis team’s win streak ended, falling to Santa Clara in a close 4-3 loss.
The Broncos took the match lead quickly, sweeping the Cougars in doubles, and didn’t stop there.
They put up two more wins over Cougars in singles. Santa Clara’s No. 151 Ilya Osintsev topped freshman Francis Sargeant 6-4, 6-3, and John Lamble took Spencer Smith in straight sets 6-4, 6-1.
Patrick Kawka put up a Cougar win defeating Nicolas Vinel 6-3, 6-3. But Santa Clara sealed its win on court six, battling through three sets to defeat Michael Eraso 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
Despite the match being lost, the Cougars finished the day strong. Freshman Keaton Cullimore took a win over Tom Pham, and No. 45 Georgy Batrakov defeated Kyle Dandan in a long 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win.
The Cougars’ Saturday match with San Fransico was canceled because of rain, and the team will continue its stretch of away matches next weekend with St. Mary’s and San Diego.