BYU men’s tennis completes four-peat over rival Utah

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In a match that was much closer than the 5–2 final scored idicates, the BYU men’s tennis team reached double-digit wins and continued its dominance over rival Utah with another win — the fourth in four years — Saturday evening at the indoor tennis courts.

BYU came into the match looking for its 10th-straight win of the season and an opportunity to keep its undefeated record at home alive against a Utah team that had only lost once prior to the evenings match-up.

BYU sophomore Francis Sargeant returns the ball in BYU’s victory. BYU defeated Utah 5–2 Saturday evening. (Photo Sarah Hill)

“It was really a tough match,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “I told my guys to expect some ebbs and flows and they got that.”

As they’ve done in all their victories except one, the Cougars picked up the doubles point to start off the evening. BYU junior Patrick Kawka and sophomore Francis Sargeant, ranked No. 59 nationally, defeated Utah’s Slim Hamza and Devin Lane 8–5 to secure the point after BYU sophomore Keaton Cullimore and freshman John Pearce knocked off Ben Tasevac and Cedric Wilems 8–6.

Cullimore opened up singles play for the Cougars to win in straight sets against Devin Lane 6–1, 6–2. Utah’s nationally ranked Hamza was next to finish, defeating BYU senior Spencer Smith in straight sets on court 2.

With the score now at 2–1, in BYU’s favor, the Utes started to pick things up and took control of the matches on courts one and three.

“I’ve got to hand it to Utah,” Coach Pearce said. “Things were looking so much in our favor and then they put in a surge and things started to turn (for Utah).”

In the No. 1 position, Utah’s Dmytro Mamedov was giving No. 74 Kawka all he could handle. After Kawka won the first set 6–2, Mamedov came back strong to take the second set 6–4. After breaking Kawka’s serve it looked like Mamedov would give Utah its second point of the match, but Kawka rallied back in front of the packed home crowd to win the third set 6–4 and to give the Cougars their third point of the evening.

“I knew I was going to have a tough match before I stepped on the court,” Kawka said. “It was so exciting to get that win.”

Sargeant sealed the win for the Cougars just minutes later in a hotly contested match full of controversial calls on both sides by coming back to defeat Utah’s Alejandro Medinilla 6–7, 6–4, 6–3.

“I was so pleased with how our guys fought, it was just an incredible performance,” Coach Pearce said.

Andrey Goryachkov gave BYU its fifth point of the evening in his victory over Rafael Dividian and Utah’s Ben Tasevac defeated BYU’s John Pearce to earn Utah it’s second and final point of the evening.

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