SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah men’s tennis team (9-2) defeated the 70th-ranked BYU Cougars (5-6) Saturday by a score of 5-2 at the Eccles Tennis Center. The upset marked Utah’s first victory over BYU since 2009.
“I am very proud of our guys,” praised head coach F.D. Robbins. “It was a big win. We haven’t beaten BYU for a few years. They came out and battled hard and our team just battled back. It was a squeaker and I am proud of the guys. They should feel really good about themselves and how hard they battled.”
Utah began the match with a set of strong wins in doubles action. Senior Alejandro Medinilla and sophomore Matt Cowley downed Robin Pfister and Matt Pearce at the No. 3 position, 8-3. Seniors Devin Lane and Ben Tasevac then followed with an 8-5 victory over Jeremy Bourgeois and Sterling Galli at the second slot. Juniors Slim Hamza and Cedric Willems were up 7-4 in their set at the No. 1 spot against Francis Sargeant and Andrey Goryachkov, but with the doubles point in hand for the Utes, the set went unfinished.
With a 1-0 advantage going into singles play, Medinilla quickly put the Utes up 2-0 when he routed Pfister at the No. 3 slot, 6-4, 6-1. The Cougars then saw their first point when Willems dropped a 7-6(5), 6-4 decision to Bourgeois at the No. 4 spot, making the score 2-1 in favor of the Utes. Soon after, 87th-ranked Hamza was defeated by 91st-ranked Sargeant, 7-6(6), 6-4, at the No. 1 position. Lane put Utah back up 3-2 with a 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-1 victory over Pearce at the No. 5 slot and extended his win streak to seven.
After netting a 6-1 win in his first set against Goryachkov at the No. 2 spot, Tasevac struggled in the second set, falling 6-7(5). But the Ute returned valiant and captured a crucial 7-5 victory in the third set to clinch the match deciding point for Utah at 4-2. Cowley then completed the 5-2 win for Utah when he topped Jacob Sullivan at the No. 6 position, 6-7 (4), 7-6(4), 6-1 and posted his seventh-straight singles victory.
The Utes will enjoy a weekend off before heading to Lincoln, Neb., to face Nebraska and Drake March 7 and 8.
Utah 5, No. 70 BYU 2
1. #91 Francis Sargeant (BYU) def. #87 Slim Hamza (Utah), 7-6(6), 6-4
2. Ben Tasevac (Utah) def. Andrey Goryachkov, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5
3. Alejandro Medinilla (Utah) def. Robin Pfister (BYU), 6-4, 6-1
4. Jeremy Bourgeois (BYU) def. Cedric Willems (Utah), 7-6(5), 6-4
5. Devin Lane (Utah) def. Matt Pearce (BYU), 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-1
6. Matt Cowley (Utah) def. Jacob Sullivan (BYU), 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-1
Order of Finish: 3,4,1,5,2,6
1. Hamza/Willems (Utah) vs. Sargeant/Goryachkov (BYU), 7-4, dnf.
2. Lane/Tasevac (Utah) def. Bourgeois/Galli (BYU), 8-5
3. Medinilla/Cowley (Utah) def. Pfister/Pearce (BYU), 8-3
Order of Finish: 3,2