The BYU women’s tennis team entered Saturday’s tennis match looking to end a three-game losing streak against Utah, and for long stretches of the match it looked like it might do just that, but in the end the Utes proved to be too much.
“We were right there and fought hard, but unfortunately in the end we just beat ourselves,” BYU coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said.
The 5–2 loss was BYU’s first loss at home this season.
BYU came into the match having won the doubles point in all six matches this season, but Utah started off extremely well and ended that streak for BYU. Utah’s regionally-ranked duo, Tereza Bekerova and Paige Miles, easily defeated BYU’s Meghan Sheehan-Dizon and Nicolette Tran, 8–3. On Court 3 the Utes’ Callie Craig and Sarah Pham secured the doubles point with their 8–3 victory over senior Aubrey Paul and junior Desiree Tran. Utah swept the doubles when Elena Najera-Salas and Natasha Smith squeezed out a 7–6 win over sophomore Morgan Anderson and freshman Mackenna Maddox.
Even with the doubles point lost it still looked like BYU would find a way to win four of the six singles matches in order to win the overall match.
BYU freshman Nicolette Tran, 6–1 overall, started off singles play by handily defeating Utah’s Najera-Salas 6–1, 6–2.
This season hasn’t been an easy one for BYU’s Anderson. After an opening day victory over Weber State, she lost five consecutive matches. On Saturday though, she started off well against Sarah Pham and never let up cruising to a 6–3, 6–4 victory and giving the Cougars a 2–1 lead.
“I was in a slump, but I knew today my competition was going to be tough,” Anderson said. “I knew I just had to be tough and play hard throughout the entire match.”
Utah hit back when Callie Craig won a tight first set, 7–6, against Sheehan-Dizon and then cruised in the second set, 6–0. It was only the second defeat of the season for Sheehan-Dizon.
Desiree Tran and Utah’s No. 79 Tereza Bekerova battled back and forth in their three-set match. Bekerova won the first set 6–4 before Tran battled back and took the second set 6–3. In the third set, Bekerova jumped out quickly to a 3–0 lead and finished off the set 6–3 to give Utah the 3–2 edge in the match.
With the overall match still undecided and two matches still going on it looked like BYU could still pull off the win. BYU’s Maddox had won her first set over Smith 6–4, and Paul had battled back from a 4–1 deficit in the first set to make it 4–3 against Utah’s Miles and had numerous chances to bring the set even at 4. However, in a game that went back and forth numerous times, Paul’s multiple double faults came back to haunt her. Miles ultimately won that game to go up 5–3 and she didn’t look back the rest of the match eventually winning 6–3, 6–2. And Smith battled back from that first set loss to win her match against Maddox 4–6, 6–4, 6–0.
Utah has now won four straight against BYU. The Cougars will be on the road next week against Oregon.