In a match that could go a long way in securing an NCAA tournament spot, the BYU men’s tennis team played one of its best performances of the season, ending a 28-home match win streak held by Boise State.
With the 4-3 victory on Saturday at the Boas Tennis Center, the Cougars improved to 16-4 on the season including 7-2 against ranked opponents and have now won five straight matches.
“I have been a part of some great BYU performances and this was right up there as one of the all-time great Cougar performances,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said in a press release. “With a hostile crowd, in a tough environment, down on the first set in almost every match, these guys dug deep and just absolutely fought. I can hardly express how proud I am of these bunch of guys.”
BYU freshman Andrey Goryachkov and Boise State’s Garrett Patton were on the court battling for the fourth and final point with the score even at 3-3. It wasn’t a new position for Goryachkov, who also provided the final point in BYU’s win against Santa Clara earlier this season, and he pulled through once again. Goryachkov took the first set 6-4, and after falling behind 2-1 in the second set, clawed his way back and eventually pulled off a 6-3 second set win and gave the Cougars the fourth and decisive point.
Boise State opened the match by winning two of three doubles matches and securing the doubles point. However, BYU’s Patrick Kawka, Francis Sargeant and Keaton Cullimore all provided key victories as they’ve done all season to give Goryachkov a chance to pull off the victory.
No. 37 Kawka defeated No. 29 Andy Bettles in straight sets to end his twelve-match win streak. Sargeant was victorious against Boise State’s Scott Sears, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 and Cullimore also prevailed in three sets against Filipp Pogostkin 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
“There were many times (Boise State) thought they had the match won and somehow we had guys who just kept fighting,” Pearce said. “Keaton gave us the opportunity to play for the match win. Today was a testament to never say die.”
BYU will resume conference play next week against Portland on April 11 and Gonzaga on April 13.