Men’s tennis struggles in Texas tournament

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The No. 30 BYU men’s tennis teams’ road woes continued this past weekend with two losses at the HEB Tournament of Champions in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The 11–4 Cougars have now lost all four games this season on the road. They’ve struggled to acclimate to matches outdoors and at sea level. BYU went 1–2 on this most recent road trip to Texas, dropping matches to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and South Alabama and had a win over Western Michigan.

Spencer Smith serves the ball to his opponent on Sept. 6, 2012. (Photo Sarah Hill)
Spencer Smith serves the ball to his opponent on Sept. 6, 2012. The Cougars went 1–2 in the HEB Tournament of Champions (Photo by Sarah HIll)

Earlier in the week BYU coach Brad Pearce talked about the importance of not suffering a setback after an emotional rivalry win over Utah on Feb. 23., but it was something the Cougars weren’t able to do this weekend.

They opened up the tournament as the No. 1 seed, playing host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. BYU junior Patrick Kawka and sophomore Francis Sargeant were the first Cougars to win in doubles, followed by a win from teammates sophomore Keaton Cullimore and freshman John Pearce. BYU’s other duo of senior Spencer Smith and junior Travis Fillmore lost their match 9-8 after the point had already been decided in BYU’s favor. In singles play the Islanders dominated and won four straight to finish the match off at 4–1.

“It was a perfect storm of adversity to draw the home team in our first match transitioning from a month of indoor tennis at altitude to a sea-level match outdoors on a hot sunny day,” Coach Pearce said in a release. “The Islanders deserve credit for playing inspired tennis.”

The lone victory of the tournament came Friday afternoon against Western Michigan. Because both teams lost each lost its previous match, they skipped doubles and went right to singles. Sargeant and Cullimore picked up the Cougars first two points in their straight-set victories over WMU’s Aaron Wong and Rube Greiner. Kawka and John Pearce picked up the final two points to give the Cougars a 4–2 win.

The win on Friday evening set the Cougars up for a Saturday afternoon match against South Alabama and a chance for fifth place.

Once again though, the Cougars couldn’t find their touch and were edged out by South Alabama 4–1. The Jaguars (6–6) started off the match strong by winning all three doubles matches and the doubles point. In singles play Cullimore picked up a point for BYU with his win over Juan Torgila, 6–2, 6–3, but South Alabama won three others to finish off the match.

BYU will return home this week for a match against San Diego (6–3), its second WCC match of the season.

 

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