BYU men’s tennis prepares to meet ‘high expectations’

243

BYU men’s tennis competed in their first matches at the Milwaukee Tennis Classic and the Wildcat Invitational, and though they didn’t take the overall win, they are preparing for a successful season.

Last season, they held an 18-7 record, with a 7-2 record in the West Coast Conference. This put them second in the conference and 67th in the NCAA.

The team is looking to raise the bar and come out on top this year. With four new athletes, coach Brad Pearce said he is putting an emphasis on the physical and technical aspects of the sport.

“We’ve got a lot to prove this year,” said David Ball, a junior on the team. “There are high expectations from the guys on the team. We had a good season last year, but we felt that we left some opportunities on the table that are absolutely for the taking.”

After placing second in the conference in 2017–18, the team has a specific goal to bring home the West Coast Conference title this year. Their main focus to ensure this is through team unity and leadership.

“We have great leadership this year,” Pearce said. “We have a great combination of veteran players who are unselfish and want the team to have success. It’s what we’re expecting and it’s what we’ve gotten already.”

Dani Jardine
David Ball plays against Montana State Jan. 20, 2018. Ball and partner Matthew Pearce won their doubles match 6-4.

During practice, Ball gathered all the athletes and encouraged them to leave everything out on the court and to get rid of any negativity. There were audible shouts of encouragement, support and cheering throughout the entirety of the practice.

“The unity, the work ethic, the culture is what’s going to differentiate a good team from a great team — and we’re trying to be a great team,” Ball said.

Matthew Pearce, a senior on the team, agreed that this year’s team is different. Though an individual sport, the thing that sets their team apart from the rest is their chemistry. He said he is excited to see how the other athletes do in this upcoming tournament and throughout the season.

With the start of this new season, the team is looking to call a couple of captains. Coach Pearce has seen great leadership skills in many of the players. He mentioned that it will be difficult to choose, but that everyone should be a leader whether they bear the title of captain or not.

Coach Pearce said all are eager and it will be very competitive when it comes time for the dual match season.

Ari Davis
Matthew Pearce celebrates during his match against Utah earlier this season. The Cougars opened up conference play with a win over San Fransisco on Feb. 20, 2017. (Ari Davis)

“I think everybody’s attitude is the right way — everybody’s aiming for the success of the team. When that happens, it’s going to be a beautiful thing,” Coach Pearce said.

The team is currently competing in the International Tennis Association Men’s All-American championships in Tusla, Okla. until Oct. 6.