In the BYU women’s tennis team last home match of the season the outdoor courts were crowded with fans and other BYU athletes on Friday to watch the Cougars take on No. 34 St. Mary’s.
In an emotional and tough match, St. Mary’s staved off a huge upset by BYU to take the match 4-3.
The Cougars came out strong and intense in doubles. Desiree Tran and Morgan Anderson started the Cougars off with an 8-2 victory. Aubrey Paul and Lisa Waldron soon followed in a 8-4 decision on court three. Megan Price and Meghan Sheehan-Dizon finished the BYU doubles sweep coming from behind to push their match into a tiebreaker to win 9-7.
In singles, the Gaels quickly tied the match defeating Andie Young in straight sets.
In the freshman’s sixth consecutive win, Sheehan-Dizon put the Cougars back in the lead defeating Jade Frampton. After pushing the first set to a tiebreaker win, Sheehan-Dizon came out strong the second set, allowing Frampton only one game to win 7-6, 6-1.
Sheehan-Dizon said she’s greatly improved since coming to BYU and has learned to focus on each match, one at a time.
“You just got to take one point at a time and play your game.” Sheehan-Dizon said. “That’s what I’ve learned in college tennis, to trust yourself.”
On court five, Paul put up the Cougar’s last win. Down in the second set 4-1, Paul battled back defeating Catherine Leduc in straight sets 6-4, 7-5.
With a huge upset in reach for the Cougars, the final three matches all went to third set decisions. The top-ranked Gaels battled back and turned the match in their favor. After losing the first set, No. 88 Jenny Jullien topped Anderson 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. And Price, in her last home match as a Cougar, lost a tough match 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.
With the match on the line, St. Mary’s Catherine Isip and Tran went back and forth, with Isip finally taking the third set 6-4 to give St. Mary’s the match win.
“The girls came out fighting hard in doubles and I was really proud of their high-energy,” BYU coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said. “We took the first set on five courts in singles. The difference between a top 30 team and us is that they fight until the end. They trust their game and play to win no matter what. We got hesitant and doubted ourselves. Hopefully we’ll learn from it and keep getting stronger.”
Sheehan-Dizon said the team had confidence in doubles, but it faded.
“The only thing separating us from these top ranked schools is keeping the intensity up,” Sheehan-Dizon said. “We need to go out strong every set and never let up.”
The Cougars will finish their season on the road, heading to the Pacific Northwest first to take on Gonzaga and Portland next weekend.
The BYU men’s tennis team ended its last road trip of the season, splitting the weekend in California beating St. Mary’s on Friday, but falling to San Diego on Saturday.
BYU’s 5-2 defeat of St. Mary’s is the team’s first win against a West Coast Conference team.
Georgy Batrakov and Patrick Kawka took the first doubles match quickly 8-2. But the Gaels answered on courts two and three taking their close matches 9-7, and 8-6 respectively, taking the doubles point for St. Mary’s.
The Cougars came back in singles play, only dropping one match, to top St. Mary’s. Kawka and Spencer Smith both took their matches in straight sets. And freshman Francis Sargeant allowed Steven Daws-Roberts only three games taking his match 6-1, 6-2.
Freshman Keaton Cullimore and senior Michael Eraso were both pushed to three sets, but each battled back to put up wins for the Cougars.
St. Mary’s only singles win came in as Maxime Olivan upset No. 45 Batrakov 7-6, 2-6, 6-2 on court one.
Saturday the Cougars faced No. 19 and reigning conference champions San Diego and fell in a close 4-3 match.
The Cougars were looking strong and earned the doubles point winning two of the three matches.
San Diego took the lead after No. 112 Thibaut Visy and Victor Pugliese defeated Cullimore and Eraso both in straight sets. Smith put up a Cougar win, defeating his Torero opponent 6-2, 6-2.
San Diego took the match win as No. 81 Patrick Phlmann defeated Kawka 6-4, 6-3 and No. 68 Nikola Bubnic defeated Batrakvo 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Sargeant took his match in straight sets to give the Cougars the last point of the day.
“We were in position for an inspired win because of some great efforts, but fell short by just one match,” BYU coach Pearce said. “San Diego is a very good team and they deserve credit for the win.”
The Cougars return to Utah to finish their season at home. They will face off with Gonzaga and Portland Friday and Saturday morning on BYU’s outdoor tennis courts.