Men’s tennis fights to get to quarterfinals in USTA/ITA Mountain Region Champhionships

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On Oct. 19, BYU’s men tennis players made it to the quarterfinals in the USTA/ITA Mountain Region Championship in Las Vegas.

Francis Sargeant and Andrey Goryachkov paired up to play as a doubles team and were defeated by Bredan McClain and Garret Patton of Boise state, 8-5.

Andrey Goraychkov returns a serve during a BYU home match. Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU
Andrey Goraychkov returns a serve during a BYU home match. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU)

Sargeant and Goryachkov were seeded No. 2, and McClain and Patton were seeded No. 7.

“We were really upset,” Goryachkov said. “We actually played really good, but we didn’t realize our chances to break them.”

The tennis duo had good confidence going into the set and even won the first game; however, the Boise State team stole the momentum and eventually won the set.

“It was really disappointing because we were the No. 2 seed and the team we lost to was really beatable. It was a reality check for my game,” Sargeant said.

The Cougars started off strong on Oct. 16 as all doubles teams progressed to the next round after the first day of the tournament. Sargeant and Goryachkov were the only singles players to advance.

However, the Cougars met their match the second day of the tournament, with only Sargeant and Goryachkov progressing in doubles play.

“Obviously the results weren’t as good as they have been in the past,” Sargeant said, “but we kind of expected it since we have a really young team.”

Sterling Galli and Jacob Sullivan lost to No. 4 Ace Matias and Denys Pume, 8-4, and Jeremy Bourgeois and Juan Canales were defeated by Montana State’s Kenny Dodd and Javier Marting-Morillas, 8-3. Nikki Rae and New Mexico’s Bryan Cunningham lost 8-3 to Jose Bendeck and Cristobal Ramos.

“Our freshmen are learning how to compete harder; in time, we believe they will start playing better,” said BYU head coach Brad Pearce.

In singles play both Goryachkov and Sargeant sailed through the first two rounds of the tournament. Goryachkov defeated Boise State’s Able Hewko 6-0, 7-5 and Air Force’s Grant Taylor 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. Sargeant had a first-round bye and then won against Arizona’s Kester Black 6-4, 6-4.

Goryachkov’s run finally ended as he lost to No. 3 seed Slim Hamza 6-2, 6-1 the third day of the tournament. Sargeant defeated Ben Tasevac of Utah 6-3, 6-3 and progressed to the quarterfinals to face fellow Britain Andy Bettles of Boise State but lost 6-4, 6-0.

Sargeant knew Bettles before from his time playing in England. Bettles was a tough competitor back in the UK, and Sargeant admits that he let it get to him at the beginning of the game.

“I played well enough at times, but not well enough consistently,” Sargeant said. “I went down early, and it’s tough to recover from early deficits.”

This tournament was the first time the men’s tennis team has been able to travel together, and it not only challenged the players but the coaches as well.

“I really appreciate our head coach Brad and the assistant coach,” Goryackov said. “They worked so hard for us, sometimes even as long as 20 hours a day.”

Overall the Cougars are ready to hone their skills and perform even better in their next tournament, the 57th Southern California Intercollegiate Championship, on  Oct. 30–Nov. 2 in Los Angeles.

“It’s remarkable the amount of improvement we saw from the beginning to the end of the tournament,” Pearce said. “We’re looking forward to getting back to work Monday. Everyone has something they can improve.”

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