PROVO – In a late Friday night thriller, the BYU men’s tennis team upset regional rival No. 35 Boise State in front of a large home crowd at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts.
“This was an incredible college tennis match,” BYU coach Brad Pearce said. “These are two teams with great tradition. We know Boise State is going to fight until the last match and the last point. Our guys are going to do the exact same, as we witnessed. I’m very proud of each of the individuals and our whole team. This was a big win for this program.”
The win over the Broncos (7-5) gave BYU its first win over a nationally ranked opponent this season. The Cougars (8-5) have defeated the last three regional opponents they’ve face and are riding a five-match winning streak.
BYU found itself down 3-0 on courts 2 and 3 but battled back to tie both matches 5-5. Junior Spencer Smith and freshman Francis Sargeant went on to fall 8-6 on Court 2, leaving the doubles point up for grabs. After back and forth points, senior Michael Eraso and freshman Keaton Cullimore brought their Court 3 match to a tiebreaker at 8-8. The BYU pair went on to win the tiebreaker, 7-3, and secure the doubles point for BYU.
The Cougars carried their momentum into singles, taking the first two matches. Smith topped Andrew Bettles, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, on Court 3, while Cullimore took a 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 decision over his Court 4 opponent.
The Broncos answered with two wins of their own. Playing at the No. 1 singles position, Boise State’s No. 60 James Meredith narrowly upset No. 54 Batrakov, 7-6, 7-5. Kawka rallied back after dropping his first set on Court 2 to push No. 59 Damian Hume to a third set, but went on to fall 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.
Eraso put on a resilient performance on Court 6, topping Garrett Patton in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6, to give BYU its fourth point.
Sargeant wrapped up the Cougar win, taking a 6-4, 6-7(6), 10-5 decision over Nathan Sereke.
BYU kicks off its next six road matches in New Mexico, taking on University of the Pacific and New Mexico on March 9 and 10, respectively.
BYU – 5
No. 35 Boise State – 2
Singles competition: 1. No. 60 James Meredith (BSU) def. No. 54 Georgy Batrakov (BYU), 7-6(6), 7-5; 2. No. 59 Damian Hume (BSU) def. Patrick Kawka (BYU), 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3; 3. Spencer Smith (BYU) def. Andrew Bettles (BSU), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3; 4. Keaton Cullimore (BYU) def. Scott Sears (BSU), 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3; 5. Francis Sargeant (BYU) def. Nathan Sereke (BSU), 6-4, 6-7(6), 10-5; 6. Michael Eraso (BYU) def. Garrett Patton (BSU), 6-4, 7-6(2).
Doubles competition: 1. G. Batrakov/P. Kawka (BYU) def. J. Meredith/N. Sereke (BSU), 8-4; 2. D. Hume/S. Sears (BSU) def. S. Smith/F. Sargeant (BYU), 8-6; 3. K. Cullimore/M. Eraso (BYU) def. A. Bettles/Filipp Pogostkin (BSU), 9-8(3)
Match Notes: BYU (8-5) Boise State (7-5); National ranking No. 35 Order of finish: Doubles (1, 2, 3); Singles (3, 4, 1, 2, 6, 5)
Whitney Weekes works in BYU Athletic Communications as the tennis sports information director. She can be reached at [email protected].