With only a handful of familiar faces and several new ones, the BYU men’s tennis team defeated Utah State, 4-3, and Weber State, 5-2, in its first two matches of the 2014 season at the Indoor Tennis Courts on Saturday.
“We were relying on freshmen playing their first college match,” BYU head coach Brad Pearce said. “And to walk out of here 2-0, I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
The first match of the day pitted the Cougars against the Aggies. The match began with freshmen Jacob Sullivan and Matthew Pearce taking the first doubles victory for BYU, defeating Matthew Sweet and Andrew Whiting, 6-3.
Junior Francis Sargeant teamed up with freshman Sterling Galli to top Marcus Fritz and Frederik Peterson. After dropping the first two games, they rallied to win the match by taking six of the following seven games, sealing the victory, 6-3, and securing the doubles point for BYU.
New rule changes from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association came into play Saturday with the doubles matches playing to six games instead of the previous eight, singles playing a tiebreaker at 5-5 and the abolishing of ad-scoring for all matches.
In singles play, Sargeant found himself down 1-4 in the first set, but he came back to take it in the tiebreaker and then dominated the second set, securing the victory, 6-5 (7-5), 6-1.
The Cougars narrowly lost two matches as Jeremy Bourgeois played Frederik Peterson to a long three sets. Bourgeois took the first set in the tiebreaker, 5-6 (4-7), before losing the next two, 6-4, 6-5 (7-5).
Freshman Juan Canales had a similar fortune as he took the first set in the tiebreaker against Matt Sweet, 5-6 (3-7), before ceding the final two, 6-3, 6-5 (8-6). Galli also lost his match, 6-2, 6-3, falling to Marcus Fritz.
The Cougars found themselves down 2-3 and in need of two more wins to take the match. Freshman Matthew Pearce set up the comeback and gave the team a chance at the win by defeating Sean Levesque in three sets, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
With the match knotted at Cougars 3 and Aggies 3, all eyes were on freshman Aidan Carrazedo. After splitting the first two sets, 3-6, 6-2, and finding himself in a 2-4 hole in the third, the South African shifted the momentum in his favor as he took the next four games to clinch match, 6-4, giving his team the win in dramatic fashion.
BYU faced Weber State in the second match of the day. Captain Sargeant and doubles teammate Galli won their match, 6-4. The lone BYU junior completed his perfect day with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Jakub Gewert.
Bourgeois and Canales each bounced back from their close losses earlier in the day. Bourgeois found himself down in the first set before taking the final two against Todd Fought, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
After losing the first set in tiebreakers, Canales grinded out the victory against Sanjay Goswami, 5-6 (5-7), 6-3, 1-0 (10-5). Pearce also won in three sets against Oliver Good, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Andrey Goryachkov dominated his opponent, 6-1, 6-1.
BYU travels to the East Coast for their next two matches, with one against Navy on Saturday and another on Monday, Jan. 20, against No. 74 George Washington.
McKay Perry is the sports information director for BYU men's and women's tennis. Contact him at email@example.com