Cougars net three consecutive road wins, remain atop WCC

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The No. 39 BYU men’s tennis team completed a busy week of away matches by defeating Portland, Idaho and Gonzaga to extend its winning streak to eight games and remain atop the West Coast Conference.

The Cougars (19–4, 6–0 WCC) have not lost since March 2. Their victory over Idaho also marked the fourth consecutive season BYU hasn’t lost to a Mountain Region opponent.

BYU's Keaton Cullimore hits a winner earlier this season. BYU won all three matches this weekend. (Photo by Elliott Miller)
BYU’s Keaton Cullimore returns the ball during a home match earlier this season. BYU won all three matches this weekend on the road. (Photo by Elliott Miller)

The first match of the week was Thursday against Portland at the Louisiana-Pacific Tennis Center. The Cougars were 5–0 all time against the Pilots and, with a 5–2 victory, extended that to 6–0.

“Portland was a good team; we expected that,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “It’s a tough first match anytime we’re making the adjustment from altitude to sea level. But the key is getting that first win on the road, which is important to maintain the momentum for the next two matches.”

BYU won two of three doubles matches and four of six singles matches in Thursday’s match.

Friday’s match against No. 72 Idaho went down to the wire, but BYU pulled out a dramatic 4–3 victory.

The night before, freshman John Pearce came down with food poisoning, and his participation was doubtful for Friday’s match. At the last moment he decided to play doubles but was still doubtful for singles. However, with it being such a tight match he ended up playing singles too and won the decisive fourth point for BYU.

“John stepped up in heroic fashion today,” Coach Pearce said. “It was his turn today, and he stepped up when we need him. Others have done the same when they needed too.”

The win over Idaho was BYU’s sixth consecutive victory over a ranked opponent.

On Saturday the Cougars faced Gonzaga and walked away with a tighter-than-it-looks 7–0 victory.

“People look at a 7-0 score and might think Gonzaga just wasn’t that good,” Coach Pearce said. “But there were moments where I thought we might not pull it out. But everybody bounced back and showed their resilience. These guys just don’t give in.”

BYU and Pepperdine will meet in California on Friday in a match between the last two undefeated teams in the conference. The Cougars’ last regular season match will take place the day after, against Loyola Marymount.

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