Following a fifth-place finish in West Coast Conference play last season, the BYU men’s tennis team geared up for its season debut last Saturday with a point to prove. Although still a newcomer to the conference, it is a team not to be taken lightly. With a strong lineup of returning players and a top-ranked freshman class, the Cougars have positioned themselves to be viable contenders for the conference championship this year.
BYU’s freshman class comes in as the No. 1 ranked recruiting class in a mid-major conferences across the country, according to the Tennis Recruiting Network. Led by Shane Monroe, one of the top-ranked high school students in the country in 2014, this freshman class is ready to prove that on the court, age doesn’t matter.
During the BYU Fall Classic in September Monroe took on the lone senior on the team, Francis Sargeant, and came out the victor to advance to the finals. Monroe showed his skills again last weekend by picking up two wins while playing in the No. 1 singles position. Against Utah State, where Monroe played in place of Sargeant due to an injury, he lost the first set 3-6 only to pull a come-from-behind victory by taking the next two sets 6-4 and 6-2. He then won in straight sets against Weber State 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
The outcome of the weekend matches was a close loss against Utah State and a strong win versus Weber State. “It was disappointing not pulling out both matches,” BYU head coach Brad Pearce said. “Not having a healthy No. 1 hurt us, but we were still in a position to win both matches today.”
The Cougars will continue pre-conference play as they travel to New Orleans to face the University of New Orleans on Saturday, Jan. 17, and Tulane University the following Monday, Jan. 19.